Royal Navy visiting Simon’s Town


The Royal Fleet Auxiliary Vessel, RFA Gold Rover and HMS Lancaster are visiting South Africa for vessel maintenance and for the crew to rest and recuperate (R&R).

They paid an informal visit to Naval Base Simon’s Town harbour on 13 August 2015, and will be in Simon’s Town for the period of one month (14 August–14 September 2015) and also in Cape Town for a period of five days (23-28 September).

The Officer Commanding of the HMS Lancaster, Commander P. Laughton and Defence Adviser, Colonel J. McCardle paid a courtesy call to Flag Officer Fleet, Rear Admiral B.K. Mhlana and Flag Officer Commanding, Rear Admiral (Junior Grade) T.J. Dlamini, the South African Navy reports.
“HMS Lancaster sailed from Portsmouth for her 9 months Atlantic Patrol Tasking (South) deployment on 21 March 2015. During this deployment HMS Lancaster will sail more than 30000 nautical miles and make over 20 ports visit, from Portugal to Panama, Mexico to South Africa most importantly to the Falkland Islands. We are now on the fifth month of deployment”, said the HMS Lancaster’s Officer Commanding.

HMS Lancaster and RFA Gold Rover successfully completed a visit to Tristan da Cunha, the most remote inhabited island in the world, as part of her deployment, building on the visit by HMS Dragon in January 2015. The ship’s Wildcat helicopter flew stores around the island to areas that are not accessible by other means of transport. Tristan da Cunha is nearly 3 000 kilometres from South Africa, and has a population of 275.

HMS Lancaster is the fourth of sixteen Type 23 Duke Class frigates. The frigate is the mainstay of the surface fleet in the Royal Navy. HMS Lancaster was built on the Clyde by Yarrow Shipbuilders and was launched by her Majesty The Queen, on 24 May 1990. She was commissioned into the Royal Navy on 1 May 1992. The close affiliation to Her Majesty continues today, earning Lancaster the nickname “The Queen’s Frigate”.

HMS Lancaster is fitted with the vertical launch Seawolf system. This is the ship’s first line of defence against aircraft and incoming missile attacks. Her displacement is 3500 tonnes, length of 133m, beam of 16.2m, draught of 7m and the speed in excess of 28 knots with a complement of 185.

RFA Gold Rover and her sister RFA Black Rover were built to replenish Royal Navy ships with fuel, oil, aviation fuel, lubricants, fresh water and a limited amount of dry cargo and refrigerated stores. RFA Gold Rover is one of the original five Admiralty-designed and commissioned ships. RFA Gold Rover also paid an informal visit to Naval Base Simon’s Town in February this year.

She accompanied the destroyer HMS Dragon as part of her Atlantic south patrol tasking. RFA Gold Rover and her sister ship Black Rover are the only survivors of five in their class, with the others having been phased out in favour of double hulled vessels. Gold Rover sailed from Plymouth on September 26 last year for her final deployment in the South Atlantic.