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Friday, 22 January 2010

Privatisation of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary?

RFA Fort George CH

I have just retired from the RFA and consider this a very bad idea. The article in the Times a few days ago spells it out. However although it may save money it will weaken our defence.

This paragraph would on the surface make sense:

The MoD is also considering outsourcing the management of the RFA fleet. This could be given the go-ahead as part of a review into the RFA fleet or it could be introduced solely for the six new vessels. Several groups including James Fisher, the UK’s largest ship broker, Maersk, Serco and VT Group are understood to be interested in managing such a contract.

And this is what these companies will try to bamboozle the government to allow:

More money could be saved if the RFA followed standard commercial practice and hired foreign crew members.

Yes they could do that, but it would be a disaster in many ways.

1) Security: RFA seafarers are vetted to a minimum of "Secret" clearance. (Yours truly is vetted to "Atomic Secret"). How would they be able to vet foreign Nationals. Which ally would work with this level of uncertainty?

2) Training: The average commercial company trains their personnel in basic firefighting. Probably 1/2 hour per week.

RFA training is in advanced firefighting, damage control, Nuclear warfare, chemical warfare, biological warfare, operation of the weapon systems (Yes the ships are armed), Secure communications, Replenishment at sea (Very close manoeuvring of two or more vessels, which would make the average commercial Captain have a heart attack), and many more drills. These are ongoing and extremely thorough. Each ship also has to undergo a gruelling evaluation period on a regular basis which exercises all these parameters. Can you imagine a commercial outfit, costing and training for that?

3) Turnover of personnel: RFA personnel are intensely loyal. They are not just in it for the job. For most it is a vocation.

I could go on, but I'll let readers decide for themselves if privatisation is a good thing or not.

We really are going to Hell in a Handcart under this Government.

Source for the Times article is here.


  1. I'm not so sure.
    All those drills and expertise meant the square root of fuck all when it came to reality.
    The Iranians took the piss out of you twice.
    You pissed your pants at the thought of helping the two OAP's in Somalia.
    I'd scrap you all and get some filipinos in.
    They're excellent cooks and are hard as fuck when it comes to a fight.
    And of course only cost 10% of your fat arsed waste of space wages.

  2. Mmmmm you're at 'atomic secret' security level.
    Fuck me I thought you were all fuckin pissheads who enjoyed rogering the cabin boy.

  3. Time for a FOI investigation I think FE. This isn't an overnight decision, it's possibly been negotiated for years.

  4. So the RN is going to gut the RFA and acquire two aircraft carriers they can neither afford to operate nor equip. Makes sense to me. After all the aircraft carriers can be rented out as the venue for large weddings, indoor fox hunting, etc.

  5. with the added benefit of eliminating more British jobs!

  6. Captain Pugwash.

    Well all I can say is that we did well in the Falklands,Balkans, & two gulf wars. The RFA also beats the Navy hands down on drug interdiction.

    Oh and read my earlier post on the subject.

  7. Subrosa.

    Yes it has been mooted over the last couple of years.

    Well if they want to destroy an outfit that actually works. So be it.

    That's labour all over.


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