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Royal Navy 'No 1 pirate catcher' to refit after 3 years active service

BRITAIN's No 1 pirate catcher, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Fort Victoria, one of the largest vessels in the Royal Navy, is undergoing a "massive refit" after three years of active service. 

Royal Navy 'No 1 pirate catcher' to refit after 3 years active service
04 March 2014 - 00:01

Royal Navy 'No 1 pirate catcher' to refit after 3 years active service

BRITAIN's No 1 pirate catcher, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Fort Victoria, one of the largest vessels in the Royal Navy, is undergoing a "massive refit" after three years of active service. 

The 31,565-ton (displacement) ship is combined fleet stores ship and tanker of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA), providing ammunition, fuel and food to the Royal Navy worldwide.

The refit is the biggest ever undertaken by the Liverpool area Cammell Laird shipyard since it began its 25-year through life support "cluster" contract to maintain nine of the 13 RFA ships in 2008. 

"The main jobs include an accommodation uplift, the replacement of six diesel generators, with complete new fuel, lub oil, salt water and fresh water systems and new pumps," said Cammell Laird project director Spencer Atkinson. 

The refit also includes overhauling the engine and main propulsion systems and steering systems as well as installing two eco-friendly ballast water treatment plants.

"Elsewhere we are replacing two sewage treatment plants, installing new reverse osmosis plants, a new incinerator and upgrading all crane ammunition handling equipment," said Mr Atkinson. 

"All the weapons and weapon systems will also be overhauled. Meanwhile extensive general dry-docking works will be undertaken including painting and blasting of tanks and the underwater hull and painting the superstructure, including all her decks," he said. 

Cammell Laird nine are tankers RFA Gold Rover, Black Rover, Wave Knight and Wave Ruler, support tanker RFA Orangeleaf, stores ships RFA Fort Austin and Fort Rosalie, a fleet replenishment ship RFA Fort Victoria and a forward repair ship RFA Diligence. 

Fort Victoria was posted to the Indian Ocean in 2010 as part of Operation Ocean Shield, the NATO mission to combat piracy.

In June 2011, Fort Victoria was deployed off the coast of Yemen with an embarked force of 80 Royal Marines to assist with the possible evacuation of British nationals from that country due to political unrest there. 

In October 2011, the Fort Victoria, along with the USS De Wert, was involved in the release of the Italian ship Montecristo after it was hijacked by Somali pirates. The pirates surrendered without resistance. 

In 2012, the ship foiled an attempt by pirates to attack cargo ships in the Indian Ocean by forcing a previously hijacked tanker, Liquid Velvet, now being used as a pirate mothership, to return to Somalia.

Later, Royal Marines operating from Fort Victoria captured 13 Somali pirates in the Western Indian Ocean after they refused to stop despite warning shots fired from a Royal Navy helicopter. 

Later that year, a US helicopter detachment completed its temporary operational rotation on board the Fort Victoria which was serving as the flagship for Combined Task Force 151. 

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