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A Final Farewell to Simon’s town

10 November 2016
RFA Gold Rover first visited Simon’s Town, South Africa in late 2006 and ever since has been a regular visitor.

Simon’s Town has proven to be an ideal location within the area of operations to conduct maintenance, stores, personnel transfers and a perfect place for R&R, hence the many return visits.

Each port visit for Gold Rover brings her closer to her decommissioning date next year.

Over the many years of being deployed in the role of APT(S) she, and her sister ships when in the role, have visited countless ports and developed strong and lasting relationships throughout the region and in particular with the local populace of Simons Town, such that this beautiful area of South Africa has been affectionately known as our “home port” within the region.

Simon’s town is the home of the South African Navy; it is located on False Bay and only a short distance from Cape Town.

It is with a high degree of sadness that we depart Simons Town for the last time and we are genuinely humbled by the warm reception we receive every time we call.

Captain Richard Taylor

At 09:00 on Tuesday 8th November, RFA Gold Rover with flags flying from all halyards, left Simon’s town Naval Base for the final time. A prolonged blast of her ships whistle was sounded to say goodbye to the town, and its people, who have shown great hospitality to every ships company lucky enough to visit.

Gold Rover was escorted from the harbour by two naval tugs, giving her a guard of honour with a display of their fire-fighting monitors; this emotional moment was a rare display for the SA Navy to provide and was testament to the strong ties the RFA have with the area, that many of the local populace turned out to bid her farewell.

David Erickson, a local journalist had this to say about the departure of Gold and Black Rover “At precisely 09:00 hrs this morning (Tue 08-Nov-2016) the RFA Gold Rover A271 slipped out of Simon’s Town Naval Harbour with a long blast of farewell from her siren.

"Both vessels had been very regular callers at Simon’s Town over the past years.

"We will miss them, and the cheery company of their crews.”

Captain Richard Taylor, Commanding Officer of Gold Rover said “It is with a high degree of sadness that we depart Simons Town for the last time and we are genuinely humbled by the warm reception we receive every time we call.

"We must always look to the future and I have no doubt that UK Naval Units will continue to be regular visitors within the region and that Simons Town will always be the choice port of call where we are assured of a welcoming and cheery port visit”

RFA Gold Rover is the last operational ship of the “Rover” class and this will be her last tour of the South Atlantic where she has been giving operational support in the South Atlantic for many decades.

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