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Veteran RFA Fort Rosalie begins Middle East mission

27 October 2017
Approaching the imposing span of the Suez Canal Bridge is the oldest ship in the Naval Service, ready to begin a six-month stint supporting Allied warships in the Gulf region.

RFA Fort Rosalie - like RFA Fort Victoria whom she replaces - plays a key role in sustaining the constant fight against terrorism/drug trafficking/piracy/smuggling east of Suez. 

Warships assigned to the two task groups patrolling the Indian Ocean - including frigate HMS Monmouth at present - are expected to cover an area the size of Western Europe looking for suspicious activity.

To maintain them on patrol, rather than popping back to ports such as Djibouti, Muscat, Dar el Salaam and so on, several international support ships such as Fort Rosalie keep them supplied with food, ammunition and spare parts.

Her arrival in the Middle East region not only provides the capability to replenish warships whilst underway, but also continues to bolster the RN presence here as part of the UK's commitment to the Middle East region.

Capt Jonathan Huxley RFA

The auxiliary can also serve as a floating base for RN Wildcats and Sea Kings operating in the region.

"Her arrival in the Middle East region not only provides the capability to replenish warships whilst underway, but also continues to bolster the RN presence here as part of the UK's commitment to the Middle East region," said Fort Rosalie's Commanding Officer Capt Jonathan Huxley RFA.

His ship was commissioned in the year of the Queen's Silver Jubilee, went through an extensive refit/overhaul in 2015, and is expected to remain in service until 2024, three years shy of half a century of service.

As for the bridge, it crosses the man-made link between the Mediterranean and Red Seas about three dozen miles from Port Said. The central span of the crossing, also known as the Al Salam / Friendship / Peace Bridge, stretches for 1,325ft, clearing the canal by 230ft.

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