RFA Diligence (A132)

RFA Diligence (A132)

RFA "Diligence" (A132) is a fleet repair ship of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. She was built by Oesundsvarvet AB Landskrona in Sweden and launched in 1981 as a civilian oil rig support ship,. "Diligence" first served the RFA during the Falklands War as a civilian owned ship taken up from the trade ("STUFT"). As MV "Stena Inspector", the ship repaired many British vessels. "Stena Inspector" was purchased by the Government in 1983 for £25 million pounds from Stena (UK) Line and renamed "Diligence". She was sailed to the Clyde Dock Engineering facility, where she was converted and military features added, including a large workshop for hull and machinery repairs, supply facilities, accommodation, armaments and magazines and communications fits.

She is designed to provide forward repair and maintenance facilities to ships and submarines operating away from their home ports, so in addition to a variety of workshops she can also provide overside electrical supplies, fuel, water and sullage reception. RFA Diligence provides a large workshop facility for Royal Navy vessels, this is equipped with specialist machinery such as Arc welding equipment, lathes, pillar drills, grinders, band saws and a large store of spares.

Diligence is the Royal Navy's primary battle damage repair unit, and is on short notice to react to developing situations worldwide.One of the key features of the ship's design is her computer-assisted dynamic positioning system which can keep the vessel static in poor conditions, using the ship's range of thrusters and the variable-pitch propeller.

She has a helicopter deck on the roof of her bridge that is large enough to support a CH-47 Chinook.

Another great advantage of the ship is her hull is built to the highest ice class specification, so she can operate anywhere the Navy does.

"Diligence" has provided damage repair work many times during its lifetime. At the end of the Iran–Iraq War, the Straits of Hormuz were mined, and "Diligence" supported the multinational minesweeping operation to clear that vital chokepoint. "Diligence" also helped to repair HMS "Southampton" after collision damage. The ship returned to the Gulf in 1990 to support operations during the Gulf War by repairing, among others, American ships damaged by mines.

During Operation Ocean Wave 97, "Diligence" deployed to the Far East as a submarine support ship. The following year, the ship supported 3rd Minecounter Measures Squadron in the Persian Gulf. Following just two weeks in the UK, "Diligence" departed for the south Atlantic, returning to Faslane in December 1998. Early 1999 saw the ship again deployed to the Falklands region.

2001 saw a large exercise in Oman, and "Diligence" supported the four MCMVs involved. The ship's next wartime assignment came with the large taskforce deployed against Iraq in 2003. Returning to familiar territory, "Diligence" supported the largest British fleet deployed since the Falklands War.

Most recently she could be found off Sierra Leone with the Vela task force.

When the ship returned to UK in November 2006 she had the longest deployment of an RFA in recent times. From her departure from Portsmouth it was 5 and half years before she returned home to Portsmouth. In that time she has visited 25 different countries whilst steaming some convert|150000|mi|km|-3, through the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf, across the Indian Ocean to India, Sri Lanka and Singapore, the South China Sea to the Philippines and from South Africa across the Atlantic to the Falklands and South America. Many of these Oceans and countries visited 2 or 3 times.

All this work took its toll on the 25-year-old ship, and the ship was given a £16 million overhaul during 2007 at Northwestern Shiprepairers and Shipbuilders in Birkenhead. Her accommodation areas, galley and engine room were all upgraded, with the intention of extending the ship's service life until the middle of the next decade. The overhaul was completed in December 2007.

External links

* [http://navy-matters.beedall.com/omar.htm Richard Beedall; Navy Matters report on OMAR]
* [http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/server/show/nav.5417 RFA Diligence on the official Royal Navy website]

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