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RFA Leaf Support Tankers

These ships have dual responsibility for the replenishing of warships at sea and for the bulk movement of fuels between Ministry of Defence depots. The ships were originally designed as commercial tankers but were taken over by the MoD and converted to RFA service. They can carry some food and stores, but the main cargo is diesel and aviation fuel. Two of these vessels, Orangeleaf and Bayleaf, are chartered.

Replenishment at Sea (RAS) is a capability vital for operations, but is a serial rarely practiced by Hunt class ships back home due to their small size in comparison to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary's tankers and the reduced requirement for it in UK waters. RAS'ing involves warships and auxiliary ships sailing in very close proximity to one another at only 42 meters apart, while connected by a tensioned steel wire rope called a jackstay which can be then used to transfer stores and fuel. Maneuvering a 700 ton Hunt Class Ship next to a 37,700 ton Tanker certainly focuses the mind! Replenishment at Sea is a dangerous and complex evolution which requires every member of the Ship's Company to work as a team to achieve it in a safe, timely and effective manner.

As of 2006 plans for the out of service date for RFA Brambleleaf and RFA Orangeleaf was 2009 with the remaining two tankers, RFA Oakleaf and RFA Bayleaf, leaving service in 2010. In order to keep RFA Bayleaf operational until she is withdrawn from service, minor refit work was due to be undertaken in 2008. No refit work was planned for the other three tankers.

Orangeleaf took a well-earned break from FOST (Flag Officer Sea Training) Tanker duties to conduct a maintenance period at Portland in early June 2009. As well as completing a range of engineering tasks, the ship hosted a number of visits from shore based staff, including RFA Personnel, RFA Support and surveyors from Lloyds and the MCA. Personnel from Cammel Laird shipyard were also onboard, measuring up some of the larger work packages that will be carried out during our forthcoming refit.

On 15 December 2010 the Secretary of State for Defence (Dr Liam Fox) stated that: "The White Paper "Securing Britain in an Age of Uncertainty: The Strategic Defence Review" (Cm 7948), presented to the House on 19 October 2010, explained the Government's intention to make certain changes to the armed forces in order to deliver the force structure we require for the future and to help address the legacy of unaffordability in the defence budget. I am now able to explain more fully those changes that affect the Royal Navy's surface fleet.... The final changes affect the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. The White Paper said that there would be a fleet of resupply and refuelling vessels scaled to meet the Royal Navy's requirements. With a smaller surface fleet these requirements are correspondingly lower, and hence we have decided to withdraw from service from April 2011 the auxiliary oiler RFA Bayleaf and the auxiliary oiler replenishment RFA Fort George."

Length 170.7 Metres
Breadth 25.9 Metres
Draft 11 Metres
Displacement 40,870 Tonnes
Speed 15 Knots
Flight Deck None
Complement 56
Armament 2 x Oerlikon 20mm guns,
4 x 7.62mm MG's
(Oakleaf 2 x 7.62mm MG's)
Brambleleaf58 RFAFuel: 31,000 sq m
Fresh water: 1,400 sq m
Bayleaf58 RFAFuel: 28,700 sq m
Fresh water: 1,400 sq m
Orangeleaf58 RFAFuel: 31,000 sq m
Fresh water 1,400 sq m
Oakleaf36 RFAFuel: 38,700 sq m
Fresh water: 1,300 sq m

Brambleleaf19761980 2009
[as of Jul 2006]

[as of Mar 2005]

[ as of Feb 2003]
Bayleaf19821982Apr 2011

[as of Jul 2006]

[as of Mar 2005]

[ as of Feb 2003]
Lombards Leasing Services
Orangeleaf19751984 2009
[as of Jul 2006]

[as of Mar 2005]

[ as of Feb 2003]
Leasing Ltd.
Oakleaf19811986 2010
[as of Jul 2006]

[as of Mar 2005]

[ as of Feb 2003]
James Fisher Ltd.

DateSailed from
RFA Brambleleaf
30 June 1999Gibraltar
16 July 1999Devonport
24 September 1999Wallsend after refit
1 October 1999Loch Striven
25 October 1999Devonport
2 November 1999Loch Striven
19 November 1999Devonport
24 November 1999Gibraltar
1 December 1999Soudah Bay
7 December 1999Algeciras
8 December 1999Tangier
9 December 1999Gibraltar
14 December 1999Loch Striven
17 January 2000Devonport
24 January 2000Devonport
31 January 2000Devonport
15 February 2000Devonport
28 February 2000Garelochhead
14 March 2000Loch Striven
20 March 2000Devonport
21 March 2000Devonport
8 April 2000Gibraltar
17 April 2000Devonport
24 April 2000Devonport
1 May 2000Spithead
7 May 2000Cherbourg
29 May 2000Devonport
2 June 2000Devonport
RFA Bayleaf
14 June 1999Devonport
21 June 1999Loch Striven
11 July 1999Gibraltar
12 July 1999Tangier
13 July 1999Algeciras
14 July 1999Tangier
17 July 1999Gibraltar
22 July 1999Devonport
6 September 1999Garelochhead
8 September 1999Loch Striven
29 September 1999Brest
13 October 1999Loch Striven
22 October 1999Garelochhead
8 November 1999Torbay
12 November 1999Southampton
15 November 1999Spithead
22 November 1999Rotterdam
5 December 1999Antwerp
11 January 2000Garelochhead
16 February 2000Gibraltar
20 February 2000Gibraltar
20 March 2000Devonport
5 May 2000Gibraltar
8 May 2000Tangier
10 May 2000Algeciras
19 May 2000Las Palmas
21 May 2000Gibraltar
27 May 2000Soudah Bay
RFA Orangleaf
26 June 1999Dubai
10 July 1999Abu Dhabi
21 July 1999Doha
15 August 1999Dubai
25 August 1999Bahrain
12 September 1999Dubai
1 October 1999Dubai
22 October 1999Wudam
20 November 1999Dubai
3 December 1999Dubai
11 December 1999Dubai
14 December 1999Bahrain
6 January 2000Dubai
19 January 2000Dubai
24 January 2000Kuwait
16 February 2000Salalah
2 March 2000Dubai
20 March 2000Dubai
17 April 2000Dubai
22 April 2000Fujairah
12 May 2000Dubai
20 May 2000Kuwait
28 May 2000Jebel Ali
RFA Oakleaf
7 June 1999Gibraltar
22 June 1999Gibraltar
10 November 1999Gibraltar
10 December 1999Augusta
7 January 2000Gibraltar
8 January 2000Tangier
9 January 2000Algeciras
18 Janurry 2000Garelochhead
10 February 2000Devonport
27 April 2000Falmouth after refit
24 May 2000Devonport
30 May 2000St. Helier
5 June 2000Devonport

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 03:04:53 ZULU