Unique ship makes a rare stop in Portsmouth port

RFA Diligence leaving Portsmouth today      Picture: LA(Phot) Nicky Wilson
RFA Diligence leaving Portsmouth today Picture: LA(Phot) Nicky Wilson
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A UNIQUE naval support ship made a rare visit to Portsmouth waters before heading off on a lengthy deployment.

Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Diligence is a 10,595-tonne forward repair ship.

She spends most of her time in the Gulf region, supporting deployed units.

But she paid a rare visit to the city this week before setting off on her journey today.

Captain Trevor Iles is the ship’s commanding officer.

He said: ‘Portsmouth is our final port in the UK before setting out on a lengthy deployment.

‘We will be using this opportunity to ensure we are fully fuelled and stored and ready for operations.’

Because of the nature of the ship’s work, she has to spend many months or even years deployed around the world in support of Royal Navy vessels.

She is fitted with a wide range of workshops for hull and machinery repairs, as well as facilities for supplying electricity, water, fuel, air, cranes and stores to other ships and submarines.

Diligence returned to the UK last year for a refit and equipment upgrade.

She then undertook trials with submarine HMS Ambush to prove her ability to support the latest class of subs.

The ship was originally a rig support vessel, taken up from trade in 1982, before she was converted and commissioned into the RFA in 
1984.