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RFA Wave Ruler assists yacht in distress

27 April 2017
RFA Waver Ruler (A390) currently operating as FOST Tanker (Flag Officer Sea Training), had just completed her final serial for the week, culminating in what most people will know as the Weekly War.

In a break of tradition where usually the FOST Tanker would be the MEU (Mission Essential Unit) and protected by the remainder of the Task Group, requiring personnel to wear Anti-Flash, (Nose Bag discipline) action coveralls, conducting a Replenishment or two, and the off chance of Action Messing, at least this time we were the Enemy.

A role not as demanding as the MEU but still as important to accomplish the training.

The ship was conducting an independent passage away from Plymouth en-route to Portland due to arrive that same evening for the Easter Break. 

Every seafarer is aware that at any time, anywhere in the world whilst at sea there may be times when assistance is required to aid those in distress.

The sea was calm, the sky was blue, with the wind and temperature moderate, however, every seafarer is aware that at any time, anywhere in the world whilst at sea there may be times when assistance is required to aid those in distress.

The time was 1335UTC “Pan Pan, Pan Pan, Pan Pan – Yacht Frangi in position 5025.36N 00243.09W approximately 12NM South West Portland Bill ran out of diesel unable to restart.”

At 1338UTC RFA Wave Ruler contacted Solent Coast Guard and offered assistance arriving on scene shortly after.

After the Engineers had boarded Frangi, they were briefed by the owner Mr Colin Lambert and began their investigation into the initial reported defect. The defect was reported back to RFA Wave Ruler that the cause of the fault was electrical at 1515UTC.

“We got on-board the yacht, welcomed by Colin the skipper and his partner who had obviously run into some trouble.

“For some reason unknown to him, the diesel engine had been starved of fuel and in the process of bleeding the engine he managed to lose power but didn’t know why.

“Colin had made a good effort, and took PO(E) David Hardy over to the engine bay where PO(E) David Hardy began priming the engine by hand whilst I tried to find the electrical fault.

“I checked all the obvious things first; I had the ships battery analyser so proved the batteries were good, and then started looking for a breaker/fuse that might have tripped whilst they were kicking the engine over.

“Luckily Colin had all the yachts paperwork, he found a circuit diagram which also pointed to a breaker, but unfortunately he had no idea where it was.

“It took a bit of time to locate the breaker, but once found and reset the yacht was up and running. We did some test to prove everything worked.”

At 1650UTC RFA Wave Ruler informed Solent Coast Guard that the defect on Yacht Frangi had been fixed, and she was now under her own power and departed westerly heading for Dartmouth.

The Rescue Boat was then recovered by RFA Wave Ruler in order for her to proceed to Portland.

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