2 April 2024






2 mins

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Forward Repair Ship RFA DILIGENCE A 132 towed by the 2011 built Spanish anchor handling tug (aht) VB HISPANIA passed by Malta today Tuesday 2nd April, 2024.

Built in Landskrona, Sweden, as the offshore support vessel STENA INSPECTOR, she was chartered by the British government during the critical months of the Falklands War in 1982 crewed up with NP2010 and later purchased for £25m in 1983 converting her as a forward repair ship with naval logistics and repair. From supporting USS TRIPOLI LPH 10 and USS PRINCETON CG 59  during The Gulf War to aiding humanitarian efforts after a tsunami in Sri Lanka in 2005, her versatility and reliability underscored her value across diverse missions.

Despite a commendable service record, the transition to decommissioning in 2015 was not without its challenges. The Ministry of Defense’s decision to sell the vessel in 2016 faced significant hurdles, primarily the lack of suitable buyers. This predicament was exacerbated by the ship’s age and the specialized nature of its design and equipment. The extensive refits she underwent, costing millions, highlight both the commitment to maintaining her operational capability and the difficulties in finding a new purpose for such a specialized vessel outside of military use.

During one of her visits in Malta , the RFA ensign was flown upside down –

During June 2016 the Royal Navy decided to retire the ship immediately instead of in 2020 as had previously been planned as a cost-saving measure. As of 2016, no replacement for the ship had been identified and in March 2017, she was towed from Birkenhead to Portsmouth where she awaited a potential buyer. In April 2023, it was revealed that the ship was to be scrapped after no suitable buyers materialised, and she was moved out of 3 Basin across to Fareham Trots to await her final journey to the scrapyard.

On Monday 11th March at 0824 hrs the 2011 built aht VB HISPANIA entered Portsmouth   –

And on Wednesday 13th March, the convoy left Portsmouth Naval Base with RFA DILIGENCE left on her final journey –


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