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RFA Tide replenishment oiler

The Tide class was a series of replenishment oilers used by the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA), the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), and the Chilean Navy. The class was based on HMS Olna, which had served with the British Pacific Fleet during World War II. Three ships were laid down for the RFA in 1953, while a fourth was ordered by the RAN at the same time. The first three ships were removed from service and scrapped during the late 1970s.

Upon completion, the Australian Tide Austral could not be accepted into service because of manpower and financial difficulties. The ship was instead loaned to the RFA until 1962, when she was returned to the RAN and commissioned as HMAS Supply. More than half the fuel used by the Fleet was then supplied when the ships are under way. It is a technique not employed elsewhere in the Merchant Navy and is one which called for a high standard of seamanship and training and constant practice.

Two more ships, built to a modified design, were launched in 1962. These two ships, built by Hawthorn Leslie, Hebburn-on-Tyne, were of 13,100 tons gross and had a speed of 17 knots, the same as the existing "Tide" Class. There were, however, improvements including a helicopter platform and up-to-date replenishment arrangements. These ships reinforced British seaborne capability under the strategy outlined in the 1962 Defence White Paper. The two improved "Tide" class tankers joined the Service as replacements for older "Wave" class ships.

The two modified ships saw service in the Falklands War, after which one was sold to the Chilean Navy and still in service as of 1996, while the other remained with the RFA and was scrapped in 1992. Supply remained with the RAN until 1985.

RFA Tidespring (A75) was a fast fleet tanker of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. As an "oiler," its main purpose was to refuel other ships. The ship had a long career in the RFA, entering service in the early 1960s. Tidespring was commissioned in 1963 and decommissioned in 1991. RFA was "heavily" involved during the "Konfrontasi" operations from 1962-1966. Tidespring took part in the Falklands War, particularly in the recapture of South Georgia. At the time, it was carrying M Company (Captain Chris Nunn Royal Marines) of 42 Commando Royal Marines. The ship accommodated prisoners of war taken during operations. The Falklands provided a reprieve of ten years for Tidespring which had been due to decommission in 1982.

Displacement 26,000 long tons (26,417 t) full load or
27,400 long tons (27,840 t) (Tidepool & Tidespring)
Length 583 ft (178 m)
Beam 71 ft (22 m)
Draft 32 ft (9.8 m)
Propulsion 2 Parmetrada steam turbines
3 Babcock and Wilcox boilers or
2 Foster Wheeler watertube steam boilers (Tidepool & Tidespring)
double reduction gearbox, single shaft
Speed 17 knots (20 mph; 31 km/h)
Complement 90 (RFA)
Tide Class Fleet Tankers. Built 1955/6. 16800dwt
A96 RFA TidereachSwan Hunter..02 June 19541979..
A97 RFA Tideflow
(ex Tiderace)
A98 RFA Tidesurge
(Ex Tiderange)
I.L. Thompson & Sons..30 Aug 19541977..
A95 RFA Tide Austral....1954..HMAS Supply from 1962
Improved Tide Class. Built 1963. 18900dwt.
A75 RFA Tidespring Hawthern Leslie..18 Jan 19631991..
A76 RFA Tidepool Hawthorn Leslie..11 Dec 19621982Sold to Chile

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Page last modified: 30-04-2013 11:48:47 ZULU