Second Royal Navy tanker RFA Tiderace unveiled in South Korea

Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Tiderace has been named in a December 1 ceremony at the Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) shipyard in Okpo, South Korea.

Tiderace is the second of four naval tankers DSME is building for the UK Ministry of Defence.

UK Chief of Materiel, Vice Admiral Simon Lister and the British ambassador to South Korea, Charles Hay attended the ceremony, accompanied by senior representatives from DSME.

Speaking at the naming ceremony, Vice Admiral Simon Lister said: “With the naming of RFA Tiderace, the Royal Navy looks forward to another new arrival into our future fleet.”

“The Tide-class will supply our fighting ships, including our two new aircraft carriers, with fuel and stores, allowing them to remain on task for as long as required. But they offer more. Through their ability to support an array of forces, such as helicopters and Royal Marines, the Tide Class will also be able to make a direct contribution to counter terrorism, maritime security and disaster relief operations around the world.”

RFA Tidespring, the first vessel in the class, has experienced a nine-month delay in the delivery which was caused by wiring issues.

Responding to a question on why the first tanker is late in delivery, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Harriett Baldwin said: “Delays in finalising elements of electrical design and the installation of Multi-Cable Transit insulation in accordance with new legislative regulations resulted in some adjustments in the build schedule. These issues have now been resolved and Tidespring is expected to arrive in the UK in early 2017 to begin UK customisation and capability assessment trials.”

“Notwithstanding these issues, which are not unusual for any first of class ship, build of the remaining ships in the class is progressing well and we remain confident that all four tankers will be in service with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary by the end of 2018, as planned.”

The Tide-class tankers – RFA Tidespring, RFA Tiderace, RFA Tidesurge and RFA Tideforce – are 201 meters long, with a beam of nearly 29 metres and displacing more than 37,000 tonnes.

The new BMT Defence Services-designed tankers will maintain the Royal Navy’s ability to refuel at sea and will provide fuel to warships and task groups. They will support deployed amphibious, land and air forces close to the shore and will have the ability to operate helicopters.