The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW


Hurst Point RO-RO/LO-LO
Strategic Sealift (Roll-On Roll-Off Vessels)

The Strategic Defence Review identified a need for six Roll-On Roll-Off vessels (Ro-Ros) to give an improved strategic sealift capability to support the Joint Rapid Reaction Forces. Operational experience has demonstrated the difficulties in obtaining suitable ships to move military equipment in the short timescales demanded by the Joint Rapid Reaction Forces, and for the Armed Forces' needs in operations worldwide. An improved strategic sealift capability was a commitment in the SDR. It will play a key role in fulfilling the Armed Forces' equipment lift requirements in a wide range of operations, including those involving the deployment of the Joint Rapid Reaction Forces.

The full six-ship service will only be required for major operations and exercises. The MOD has therefore pursued a contract for a long term service under the Private Finance Initiative. Under the terms of the contract the service provider can make ships available for the generation of commercial revenue, at times when they are not needed by MOD - thus delivering better value for money for the taxpayer.

The ships providing the service will be equipped and classed as merchant ships. As the requirement is non warlike, the competition was conducted under EC Treaty and public procurement rules, within which the Government has ensured that the four competing bidders - NOVOMAR, The Maersk Company, A.W.S.R.Shipping Ltd, and Sealion - gave British shipyards every opportunity to bid for a share of the work The decision represents the best value for money for defence, having regard to price, quality and delivery.

On 26 October 2000 Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon announced the selection of preferred bidders for the MOD's landing ship and Strategic Sealift requirements. This package of work, worth 1.25 billion, will deliver early and significant improvements to UK Armed Forces' ability to deploy rapidly and effectively world-wide. It is another significant step forward in implementing the Strategic Defence Review. These decisions secured over 2,000 jobs and create 1,000 new jobs in the UK's shipbuilding industry.

A preferred bidder was selected on 26 October 2000 for the strategic sealift service. A.W.S.R. Shipping Ltd was selected as the preferred bidder for the 25-year Private Finance Initiative contract to provide this service. The preferred bidder is a UK company and the contract will provide considerable UK employment opportunities, not just in shipbuilding but through supply of equipment, service operation and provision of crews. Over the life of the contract, it is likely that up to 85% of the total service price, - probably over 800M - will be spent in the UK. While the ships are in MOD use, they will be fully crewed by British merchant seamen. AWSR Shipping Ltd will provide British officers and crews for the ships while in MOD use. The seafarers will be eligible for call out as Sponsored Reserves for operational requirements. The contract would be worth approximately 950M over 25 years, depending upon the amount of operational usage.

AWSR Shipping Ltd (now known as Foreland Shipping Limited) was formed in July 1999 to bid for the MoD Strategic Sealift Service. It consists of four UK companies which together are able to provide the key elements of the service required to operate the Strategic Sealift Service - ship design and engineering, ship management, specialist ship operation and marine personnel management. The four companies are Houlder Offshore Engineering Ltd, Andrew Weir Shipping Limited, James Fisher & Sons plc and Bibby Line Ltd.

  • Houlder's role in the AWSR consortium includes the management of the construction of the six ships and the provision of ongoing design and engineering support for AWSR for the duration of the contract. Houlder Offshore Engineering Ltd is an independent engineering consultancy and provides a broad range of services to clients in the offshore, marine and defence markets. The company is able to draw on an experienced team of project managers, naval architects, marine engineers and associated disciplines from its offices in Aberdeen, Newcastle and London. Through its central role in creating the AWSR consortium, winning the bid for the Strategic Sealift Service and negotiating the contract, Houlder has become well versed in the Private Finance Initiative, and its use in the defence sector. Houlder co-ordinated all works by the consortium members and was the interface with the client for Foreland Shipping Ltd which was awarded preferred bidder status in October 2000 and signed the contract with the MoD in June 2002.
  • Andrew Weir Shipping will provide ship management services for the duration of the contract. Andrew Weir and Company was founded in 1885. Today, Andrew Weir Shipping Limited is the largest privately owned shipping company in the UK and its commercial activities include stevedoring, forwarding, container engineering and the four shipping divisions: Bank Line, Ellerman, MacAndrews and United Baltic Corporation, along with Andrew Weir Agencies. These shipping lines operate a comprehensive network of sea routes serving Europe, the Baltic and CIS, East Africa, the Mediterranean, the Near and Middle East, the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand, Arabian Gulf, Red Sea and India and Pakistan. AWS operates RoRo, container and multipurpose vessels and also provides transport services by rail, road and air through CAC Air Cargo.
  • James Fisher is a world-leading shipowner and operator with a high quality diverse fleet including tankers, heavy load RoRo, cable laying, nuclear fuel carriage and dry cargo vessels. Beyond ship ownership, the company has an enviable track record in project management and design, also providing support in both shipping and logistics to the Ministry of Defence.
  • Bibby Line's role in the AWSR consortium is the provision of all crew management services including recruitment and training. Bibby Line Group is a business to business services group involved in ship owning and operation, shallow water accommodation, oil field services, contract logistics and debt factoring. The company was founded by Liverpool entrepreneur John Bibby in 1807 and has its head office in Duke Street, Liverpool. Bibby Line Limited specialises in the marine activities undertaken by the company. These include the ownership and operation of LPG and chemical ships, accommodation barges and jack-up rigs, as well as management activities. Management activities include Bibby International Services (IOM) Limited which is based in Douglas, Isle of Man and focuses on worldwide recruitment and deployment of seafarers and other ship manning services, with links in the Philippines, Russia, Korea, India, Cayman Islands and Europe.

AWSR Shipping Ltd will be responsible for the provision of the crews, operation and maintenance of the ships - which are not warships - throughout the life of the contract. They built two ships at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, which secured 400-600 jobs in Northern Ireland, and four ships at the Flensburger yard in Germany. Constructing the vessels at two shipyards enabled earlier availability than construction in one yard can provide, and the full service was expected to be available from early 2004. AWSR Shipping Ltd, the winner of the contract to provide the Ministry of Defence with a 20 year Strategic Sealift Service, received confirmation of the financing arrangements to enable to the consortium to start work on the construction of the six roll-on roll-off (RoRo) ferries.

The increasing drive in the public sector for longer term partnership arrangements with suppliers is changing the nature of procurement in many areas. The focus is shifting to the provision of a service rather than the supply of equipment, buildings or infrastructure. The Strategic Sealift Service contract addressed many new issues in the provision of an integrated shipping service in support of military operations with six new ships manned by British crews of Sponsored Reserves.

Foreland Shipping Limited was formed by leading British shipping names Bibby Line, Houlder Hadley, James Fisher Plc and Andrew Weir Shipping. The company was established with the express purpose of bidding for the 950 million contract to construct and own six 20,000-tonne ro-ro vessels for service with the UK's Ministry of Defence (MoD). Foreland Shipping was subsequently awarded the MoD contract and delivery of the six ships, built at German and British shipyards, was completed ahead of schedule. The MoD agreed a structure with Foreland Shipping under the Private Finance Initiative to allow the company to employ some of the ships in the commercial market whilst ensuring that they are available to the MoD in times of crisis. The remaining ships cover the MoD's normal tasking requirements moving equipment to enable the MoD to meet its normal ongoing obligations. All of the ships are registered in UK and crewed by a British crew who are members of the Sponsored Reserves. Foreland Shipping allowed the MoD to realise its belief that strategic sealift is the key to moving vehicles and equipment into a theater of operations quickly and efficiently. The new service is a huge advance on the strategic transport capabilities formerly possessed by the MoD, not least due to the expertise enshrined in the Foreland Shipping structure.

Vehicles that can be carried on the ships include Challenger 2 tanks, AS90 self-propelled howitzers, Warrior infantry combat vehicles and many other types of armoured and unarmoured military vehicles. The six vessels are all named after UK lighthouses, and wear the green and white livery of AWSR and fly the red ensign. The first of them, the Hurst Point, was launched exactly to time at Flensburg in April 2002, and was delivered for service in August. Also in August 2002, a second ship, the Eddystone, was launched at Flensburg, and the Longstone and Beachy Head followed. Meanwhile, the Hartland Point was floated in Belfast, for delivery in the autumn of 2002, and was followed by the second Harland & Wolff ship, the Anvil Point. The full six ship service was available in 2003, which, in spite of the delays which occurred in the signing of the overall PFI contract, was some 18 months ahead of the originally planned schedule.

NameBuilderOrderedKeel laidLaunchDeliver
Hurst Point Flensburger
mbH & Co KG,
26 Oct 200021 Jan 200219 Apr 200212 Aug 2002
Beachy HeadFlensburger
mbH & Co KG,
...11 Nov 200207 Feb 200324 Apr 2003
Eddystone Flensburger
mbH & Co KG,
...22 Apr 2002 16 Aug 2002 07 Nov 2002
Longstone Flensburger
mbH & Co KG,
...19 Aug 2002 08 Nov 2002 23 Jan 2003
Anvil Point Harland
.........31 Mar 2003
Hartland PointHarland
...08 Oct 2001...10 Dec 2002

Ship type Vehicle/container carrier
Gross tonnage 23,235
Net tonnage 6,870
Deadweight tonnage 13,274
L.O.A. 193.00 meters / 627 ft
L.B.P. 182.39 meters /
Width overall 26.00 meters
Width moulded
Draught 7.40 meters
Depth 16.70 meters
Number of decks
Lane capacity 2,606 meters
Passenger capacity 12
Container capacity 668 TEU
Reefer capacity 30 TEU
Unloading gear 1 - 36 tonne crane
Number of engines 2
Engine type MaK 7M43 diesel
Fuel Heavy fuel oil & diesel oil
Horsepower 17,131 bhp or 12,600 kW
Speed 18.0 + knots
Propeller 2 variable pitch
Bow thuster 1 (? hp)
Steering gear Standard rudder

The new ships replaced RFA Sea Centurion and RFA Sea Crusader.

A96 Sea Crusader was chartered by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) while under construction at Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Sakaide in Japan. RFA Sea Crusader was launched in 1996 as Celestine, and entered service upon completion in 1996. She was operated by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary on charter from Cobelfret Ferries, and served as a transport in the Joint Rapid Reaction Force (JRRF) and provide the Navy with the much needed sea lift capability that it has lacked for many years. Her charter expired in October 1998 but was extended until April 1999 to cover for the delayed arrival of her replacement. She had over 2,300 lane meters available for tanks, armoured transports and other vehicles and has been used for freighting and transport duties between her home port of Marchwood and with British Troops at Split, Thessalonika and elsewhere in the Balkans, especially during Operation Allied Force.

length161 metres 523 feet
breadth 25 metres
draught 6.5 metres
displacement 18,031 ton / 23986gt
speed18 knots
complement17-18 RFA personnel
2,300 lane metres capacity

[Feb 2003]
Sea Crusader199619962003
[as of Feb 2003]
Sea Centurion leased from
Ocean Arrow
and returned
to her owners
in 2002

Join the mailing list

Page last modified: 11-07-2011 03:04:55 ZULU