Royal Navy: Falklands repair ship RFA Diligence leaves Portsmouth to be scrapped

A Royal Fleet Auxiliary Ship which played a role in The Falklands War and The Gulf War has left Portsmouth to be scrapped.
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RFA Diligence has been a fixture in Portsmouth harbour for many years, but her life is now coming to an end after she was decommissioned in 2015 and transferred to the Defence Equipment Sales Authority for disposal. This morning (Wednesday, March 13) the forward repair ship was towed from the harbour to make her final journey.

RFA Diligence leaves Portsmouth Harbour RFA Diligence leaves Portsmouth Harbour
RFA Diligence leaves Portsmouth Harbour

She was equipped with specialised machinery including arc welding equipment, lathes, pillar drills, grinders, band saws and a large store of spares - while being utilised as primary battle damage repair unit. RFA Diligence was launched in 1981 and built in Landskrona, Sweden. she also had a helicopter deck on the roof of her bridge that was large enough to support a CH-47 Chinook. The hull was built to the highest ice class specification, which allowed her to navigate polar regions without the assistance of an icebreaker.

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She was initially set up to be a civilian oil rig support vessel, but was chartered by the British government to support naval activities during The Falklands War in 1982 and was later bought outright as a fleet maintenance vessel. Previously known as MV Stena Inspector, government officials purchased the ship in 1983 for £25m and renamed her. She was used in multiple forward deployed situations since, including as a support ship for USS Tripoli and USS Princeton during The Gulf War in 1991.

The vessel was also deployed in response to humanitarian disasters including a tsunami in Sri Lanka in 2005, and underwent a £17.6m refit between June 2012 and February 2013, after a previous £16m overhaul in 2007. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) put the vessel up for sale in 2016 and in 2017 she was towed from Birkenhead to Portsmouth where she awaited a potential buyer.

But by 2023, no suitable buyers came forward leading to the decision to send her to the scrapyard in Turkey.

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