Sea vessels

Two former Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships up for sale

The vessels, which weigh 23,384 tonnes each, are more than 40 years old.

Two former Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships have been put up for sale, but only for recycling, by the Ministry of Defence (MOD).

Former Fleet Replenishment Ships, RFA Fort Austin and her sister RFA Fort Rosalie, ceased operational service on 31 March.

Both ships were responsible for replenishing Royal Navy and ally warships with food, stores and ammunition.

They both have two flight decks and can use helicopters for vertical replenishment.

The 23,384-tonne RFA Fort Rosalie was commissioned in 1978 and underwent a life-extending programme in 2015.

She was previously based in Falmouth, Cornwall.

The ship's last docking came in January 2019 at Cammell Laird in Birkenhead, Merseyside, with her last repair and refits period coming in 2018.

She is described as being in 'good' condition.

RFA Fort Austin's last docking and repair and refits period came in 2017, also at Cammell Laird.

The ship, which was commissioned in 1979, was placed into reserve in the summer of 2009 but after a series of major upgrades, was reinstated into the RFA fleet three years later.

RFA Austin previously served on Operation Kipion in the Gulf (Picture: Royal Navy).

RFA Fort Austin served as part of the Naval Task Group during Operation Telic in Iraq - the codename for the British military mission in the country between 2003 and 2011.

The ship has also deployed on the Royal Navy's Operation Kipion mission in the Gulf and the Combined Task Force 150, a multinational effort to fight terrorism, stop trafficking and offer security across the region.

Fort Austin is also described as being in 'good' condition.

The Defence Equipment Sales Authority (DESA) is "inviting expressions of interest" for both ships, according to the MOD.

However, interest will only be accepted by companies with the appropriate facilities in the UK or included within the current European list of ship recycling facilities.

Both vessels are moored at Bidston in Birkenhead and will be sold from there.

All parties interested in buying the vessels for recycling have to complete and submit a declaration of compliance form.

It is hoped viewings of the ships will take place in early September of this year.

The MOD says anyone who is interested must not book any travel until they receive an Invitation to Tender in case COVID restrictions still apply.

Cover image: Library photo of RFA Fort Rosalie (Picture: Royal Navy).