HMS St Albans Fills Its Tanks
With 40,000 tonnes of metal crashing through the Channel separated by just 40 metres, HMS St Albans and Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker Wave Ruler execute one of the most dangerous, but also carefully choreographed manoeuvres on the high seas.
For the first time in nearly two years the Portsmouth-based frigate refuelled at sea – a routine yet vital operation to sustain the Royal Navy’s surface ship on patrol around the globe.
The Saint was out of action for well over a year undergoing a £25m revamp in her home base, but has been gradually returning to the fold since the spring.
Her regeneration is reaching its climax right now off Plymouth with Operational Sea Training which determines whether one of Her Majesty’s Ships is ready to deploy around the globe.
That two-month assessment – likened to pre-season training for footballers – tests the ability of the 180 crew to deal with everything from the basics of seamanship and fire-fighting, to all out (mock) war with air, sea and submarine attacks to contend with.
The first refuelling – replenishment at sea, or RAS in everyday Royal Navy parlance – took place with the giant oiler just off Plymouth.
St Albans is continuing her training off the coast of Devon before returning to her native Portsmouth in time for Christmas.
Press release, Image: UK Navy