Skip to content
Recruiting now.Explore navy careers

It’s a dog’s life for Rover at South African animal sanctuary

It’s a dog’s life for Rover
23 September 2016
Steward Carol Doone-Ames cradles a dog rescued by an animal charity while veteran tanker RFA Gold Rover takes a break from patrolling the South Atlantic.

The fittingly-named Tears Animal Rescue Centre in Sunnydale, just outside Simon’s Town, was just one community project sailors called in at to show their support, and offer a little TLC to some of the 300 cats and dogs the sanctuary has saved and is now looking to rehome.

The oldest active vessel in the Naval Service (more than 42 years of providing fuel to the Fleet on operations around the world), Gold Rover is due to retire in 2017.

But you can dispense any thought of a quiet final few months before she retires; the ship has been criss-crossing the Atlantic over the past few months, doing everything from providing fuel to other RN vessels in the region (notably HMS Clyde, the RN’s constant presence in the Falklands) to visiting Rio, the remote British territories of Ascension Island, Tristan da Cunha and St Helena, conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Guinea and calling in at several West African ports Tema (Togo), Lome (Ghana) and Lobito (Angola).

Two hubs serve as bases for the tanker’s work: East Cove in the Falklands and Simon’s Town in South Africa, where more extensive engineering work and maintenance can be carried out. And the weather’s a lot nicer. And the bright lights of Cape Town are just up the road.

Various volunteer activities took place, from the visit to Tears to a working party dispatched to the town of Glen Cairn to clean and re-touch the gravestone of Surgeon Robert Noel McKinstry in the military cemetery.

And Capt Richard Taylor RFA and 3/O(X) David Mallard paid a visit to Vice Admiral Arne Soderland, formerly of the South African Navy. He gave his visitors a guided tour of his very own naval museum in the basement area of his home.

An unofficial reception was hosted by The Seven Seas Naval Club for the officer’s mess further strengthening the friendship and ties of the local community of Simon’s Town.

Related articles

Navy News Magazine

We bring you the latest news, features and award-winning photographs from the front-line. Navy News has been reporting on all that happens in the Royal Navy and its wider community since 1954.