UKRFA Wave Ruler returns to UK after 21-month deployment

RFA Wave Ruler arrived home on 12 Decem­ber 2011 after spend­ing near­ly two years work­ing across hur­ri­cane zones and drug-traf­fick­ing routes.

Aer­i­al view of RFA Wave Ruler (stock image) [Pic­ture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

The Roy­al Fleet Aux­il­iary (RFA) sup­port ship returned to Port­land, Dorset, hav­ing left for oper­a­tions in Feb­ru­ary 2010. 

The ship’s pri­ma­ry role has been to under­take the Atlantic Patrol Task (North) around the Caribbean, sup­port­ing UK Over­seas Ter­ri­to­ries and under­lin­ing Britain’s com­mit­ment in the region. 

This role includ­ed car­ry­ing vital sup­plies and stores to small ter­ri­to­ries hit by nat­ur­al dis­as­ters like hur­ri­canes. With a wide range of dis­as­ter relief mate­ri­als, Wave Ruler was able to pro­vide food, water and shel­ter where required. 

Her crew would also offer med­ical and human­i­tar­i­an aid, togeth­er with tech­ni­cal assis­tance using their train­ing, skills, knowl­edge and experience. 

In August this year, Wave Ruler was tasked to head to the Turks and Caicos Islands after Hur­ri­cane Irene had passed through the Caribbean. 

RFA Wave Ruler’s Com­mand­ing Offi­cer, Cap­tain Bob Allan, said: 

“I am delight­ed to be able to bring Roy­al Fleet Aux­il­iary Wave Ruler home to the UK. This has been an extreme­ly suc­cess­ful deploy­ment to the South Atlantic and Caribbean region. The ship has main­tained a pres­ence rep­re­sent­ing the British Gov­ern­ment in the Caribbean, and forged close links with the UK Over­seas Ter­ri­to­ries dis­as­ter relief organisations. 

“Wave Ruler car­ried human­i­tar­i­an aid and dis­as­ter relief stores and equip­ment through­out her time abroad, plus a Roy­al Navy spe­cial­ist detach­ment that could be called upon in the event of a nat­ur­al dis­as­ter such as Hur­ri­cane Irene. Addi­tion­al­ly, Wave Ruler con­tributed to region­al law and order enforcement.” 

The ship’s crew pro­vid­ed dis­as­ter relief help at the request of the Gov­er­nor of Grand Turk. The ship’s Roy­al Navy Lynx heli­copter con­duct­ed recon­nais­sance of the islands and then dis­as­ter relief stores were deliv­ered to out­ly­ing islands by the ship’s crew. 

The RFA crew was enhanced with a 20-man Roy­al Naval human­i­tar­i­an and dis­as­ter relief team, togeth­er with the Lynx heli­copter and 13 per­son­nel from 815 Naval Air Squadron, based at Roy­al Naval Air Sta­tion Yeovil­ton in Somerset. 

When not on region­al vis­its to over­seas ter­ri­to­ries Wave Ruler was tasked to work for the Joint Inter­a­gency Task Force South in the area on counter-nar­cotics oper­a­tions. This involved work­ing in sup­port of local defence and police forces, from a host of Caribbean nations, togeth­er with the Unit­ed States Coast Guard and the Dutch Navy, to tack­le drug-traf­fick­ing from South Amer­i­ca to the Caribbean, USA and Europe. 

The Roy­al Fleet Aux­il­iary is a civil­ian-manned fleet, owned by the MOD, which sup­ports Roy­al Navy ships around the world, sup­ply­ing war­ships with fuel, ammu­ni­tion and sup­plies. The RFA fleet is ful­ly inte­grat­ed into the Roy­al Navy’s com­mand and con­trol sys­tem and forms a vital part of mar­itime operations. 

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK 

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