In today’s uncertain worldwide political climate, the role of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Service (RFA) has never been so critical and is pivotal to the success of our forces across the globe.

Constituted in 1905, the RFA began its service by carrying coal bunkers and other stores as British warships became oil burning during World War I. Today the RFA is a civilian manned fleet, owned by the Ministry of Defence. Its main task is to supply warships of the Royal Navy at sea with fuel, food, stores and ammunition which they need to remain operational while away from base.

For the last few years, Energyst CAT Rental Power, has travelled around the world to ensure that each of the RFA’s fleet of 16 ships is provided with power while in port.

Energyst, with UK headquarters in Wolverhampton, is a pan-European company providing turnkey rental solutions for power generation and temperature control.

Pan-European specialist

The company’s pan-European approach gives a consistent solution based offering to some of the largest customers in Europe and with some 2,000 civilian officers and ratings employed by the RFA, there is no bigger customer in British shipping.

Jason Harryman, Energyst’s key account manager says the company’s role for the RFA demonstrates both flexibility and professionalism: “We’ve worked with the RFA for a number of years now. Our role is to supply temporary generators to the ships when they come into port to restock supplies and allow the ship’s company to rest.

“We position and install temporary CAT generators down on the shore next to each vessel and provide an engineering team on site for the entire duration that the ship is in port, working 24-hours-a-day to ensure a successful mission is achieved for the RFA. We supply a variety of generators and equipment to customer specification. Our support role allows the RFA to conserve both fuel and man power by not running at full power while in dock.”

Diverse fleet

There are 16 ships in the RFA fleet; four fleet support tankers, four landing ship dock (auxiliary) ships, two combined fleet support tanker and stores ships, two small fleet tankers, two fleet support stores ships, one aviation training and casualty reception ship and one forward repair ship.

A recent mission for the RFA was a joint task force (JTF) with the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, which completed a series of complex repair tasks to the harbour of one of the world’s most isolated communities, Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic Ocean. The purpose of Operation ZEST was to affect emergency repairs to the island’s main harbour before the onset of winter so that port operations could be maintained until further repair work could be conducted by civil engineers at a later date.

Time critical

Energyst’s work with the RFA takes the team across the world. The team needs to be ready to go at any time as occasionally work includes unscheduled stops for essential maintenance where the RFA will borrow facilities from another navy. Here again Energyst meets the needs of these jobs, providing a dedicated engineering team wherever they may be needed across the globe.

For Jason Harryman, the jobs allow the company an opportunity to provide an essential service: “Our job for the RFA is time, security and product critical. We enjoy working in partnership with the RFA and look forward to serving the team across the world in the coming months and years.”