RFA Fort Victoria (A387)
is a Fort
Class combined fleet stores ship and tanker of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary
The Royal Fleet Auxiliary is a civilian-manned fleet owned by the British Ministry of Defence. The RFA enables ships of the United Kingdom Royal Navy to maintain operations around the world. Its primary role is to supply the Royal Navy with fuel, ammunition and supplies, normally by replenishment...
of the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...
tasked with providing ammunition, fuel, food and other supplies to Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...
vessels around the world.
was ordered from Harland and Wolff
Harland and Wolff Heavy Industries is a Northern Irish heavy industrial company, specialising in shipbuilding and offshore construction, located in Belfast, Northern Ireland....
in 1986, and was launched in 1990. She was accepted into service on 24 June 1994 and is named after Fort Victoria
Fort Victoria was a single tier battery with defensible barracks west of Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, England, built in the 1850s, later used as a submarine mining centre and training area for military purposes....
on the Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight is a county and the largest island of England, located in the English Channel, on average about 2–4 miles off the south coast of the county of Hampshire, separated from the mainland by a strait called the Solent...
On 6 September 1990, just four months after being christened, she became the target of two IRA
The Provisional Irish Republican Army is an Irish republican paramilitary organisation whose aim was to remove Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom and bring about a socialist republic within a united Ireland by force of arms and political persuasion...
bombs, one of them successfully defused. The other device exploded, causing extensive damage inside the engine room and several floods, which were only brought under control after hours of work by emergency teams. This incident and other problems with the construction of the vessel meant it was not delivered until 1993, three years after originally planned. In 1998, the ship was fitted with the Phalanx CIWS
The Phalanx CIWS is an anti-ship missile defense system. It is a close-in weapon system and was designed and manufactured by the General Dynamics Corporation, Pomona Division...
The vessel took part in Operation Telic
Operation TELIC was the codename under which all British military operations in Iraq were conducted between the start of the Invasion of Iraq on 19 March 2003 and the withdrawal of the last remaining British forces on 22 May 2011...
during early 2003.
The Royal Fleet Auxiliary Fort Victoria
was adopted by the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley
The Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley is a metropolitan borough of the metropolitan county of South Yorkshire, England. Its main town is Barnsley....
and has been affiliated with the borough for over ten years. A battle ensign was presented to the borough in 2003 following the vessels participation in military operations in the Gulf. The ensign can be seen in the foyer of Barnsley Town Hall
Barnsley Town Hall is the seat of local government in the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley. The Borough's local government was last reorganised in 1986 when the South Yorkshire County Council was abolished...
With its ability to supply anything from humanitarian supplies to fuel and ammunition, the ship proved itself as a vital ship in peacetime and war. An example of this was the 2006 conflict in Lebanon, where it played a key role in supplying the Royal Navy and giving air support with a flight of Merlin MK1 helicopters from 814 squadron.
From November 2008 until May 2009 underwent a refit on the Mersey by Cammell Laird
Cammell Laird, one of the most famous names in British shipbuilding during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, came about following the merger of Laird, Son & Co. of Birkenhead and Johnson Cammell & Co. of Sheffield at the turn of the twentieth century.- Founding of the business :The Company...
Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders, being towed up from the Solent by tugs Red Dolphin
. She returned to operational status on November 2009, and was set to rejoin the RFA fleet by the early months of 2010.
In September 2010, Fort Victoria
was posted to the Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...
as part of Operation Ocean Shield, the NATO
mission to combat piracy
Piracy off the coast of Somalia has been a threat to international shipping since the second phase of the Somali Civil War in the early 21st century...
. She has subsequently been involved in several operations against pirates off the coast of Somalia.
As of June 2011 Fort Victoria
is waiting off the coast of Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....
with an embarked force of 80 Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...
to assist with the possible evacuation of British nationals from that country due to the recent political unrest there
The 2011 Yemen Uprising followed the initial stages of the Tunisian Revolution and occurred simultaneously with the Egyptian Revolution and other mass protests in the Middle East in early 2011. In its early phase, protests in Yemen were initially against unemployment, economic conditions and...
. Britain's foreign secretary, William Hague
William Jefferson Hague is the British Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State. He served as Leader of the Conservative Party from June 1997 to September 2001...
, advised British nationals to leave the country immediately saying that it was "extremely unlikely" that the UK government would be able to stage an evacuation operation.
On the 11th of October 2011 Fort Victoria
, along with the USS De Wert
, was involved in the release of the Italian ship Montecristo after it was hijacked by Somali pirates. The pirates surrendered without resistance.
Official Royal Navy Fort Victoria webpage