RFA Grey Rover (A269)

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RFA Grey Rover on her last visit to the Falklands. MOD 45146051.jpg
The RFA Grey Rover around the coast of South Georgia Falkland Islands, October 2005.
Royal Fleet Auxiliary EnsignUnited Kingdom
NameGrey Rover
OrderedJanuary 1968
BuilderSwan Hunter
Yard number7
Laid down28 February 1968
Launched17 April 1969
Commissioned10 March 1970
Decommissioned24 February 2006
IdentificationIMO number6923163
General characteristics
Class and typeRover-class tanker
Tonnage6,822 DWT
Displacement16,160 tonnes[1]
Length461 ft (141 m)
Beam63 ft (19 m)
Draught24 ft (7.3 m)
Speed19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph)
Range15,000 miles (24,000 km) at 15 knots (28 km/h)
Capacity3,000 m3 (19,000 bbl) of fuel
  • 16 officers
  • 31 ratings
Sensors and
processing systems
  • Sperry Marine Visionmaster radars and ECDIS
  • 1690 I band navigation radars
Electronic warfare
& decoys
  • 2 × Corvus and 2 × Plessey Shield decoy launchers
  • Graseby Type 182 towed torpedo decoy
Aviation facilitiesHelicopter deck

RFA Grey Rover (A269) was a Rover-class small fleet tanker of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA). She was decommissioned in 2006.

Launch and commissioning[edit]

Grey Rover was launched at the Swan Hunter yard, Hebburn on Tyne, on 17 April 1969. The Lady Sponsor was Lady Parker, the wife of Vice Admiral Sir John Parker who was Flag Officer Medway. She was completed on 10 April 1970 and accepted into service three months later than planned.

Operational history[edit]


In September 1970, Grey Rover took over from RFA Black Ranger as Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) tanker.

In July 1973, she was involved in a collision with the Canadian submarine HMCS Okanagan resulting in the need to dry dock in Govan for repairs.[2][3]

Between 17 June and 22 June 1976 she stood off the Lebanon to evacuate British nationals along with RFA Stromness and the frigates HMS Exmouth and HMS Mermaid.[4]


During Operation Corporate (the Falklands War), Grey Rover was the only operational RFA tanker which remained in UK waters. She carried out replenishment at sea (RAS) trials with STUFT ships en route to the Falkland Islands in the southwest approaches to the English Channel whilst herself was based at Portland. The smallest vessel worked with was the trawler FV Farnella and the largest was the ocean liner Queen Elizabeth 2.[5]


In January 1994, Grey Rover berthed at Cape Town, South Africa, in company with HMS Norfolk for a five-day visit. Both ships were open to the public and 53,000 visitors were received on board both ships.

Grey Rover's last refit was 15 June–27 November 1998 which extended her service life into the 21st century.


External video
video icon A time-lapse video of the vessel being scrapped via Vimeo[6]

On 2 February 2006, while supporting the Type 42 destroyer HMS Southampton in the Caribbean as part of Atlantic Patrol Task (North), Grey Rover was involved in the boarding of merchant vessel MV Rampage and the seizure of 3.5 tonnes (3.4 long tons; 3.9 short tons) of cocaine with an estimated street value of £350 million.[7]

In November 2004, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence Procurement Lord Bach announced that Grey Rover would have a decommissioning date of 2007. She paid off early on 15 March 2006 and was towed to Canada Dock, Liverpool for scrapping.[8][9][10]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "RFA Grey Rover 1973-74". historicalrfa.org. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  3. ^ "HMCS Okanagan Collides with RFA Grey Rover, 1973". rcnhistory.org. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  4. ^ "RFA Grey Rover". historicalrfa.org. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  5. ^ "QE2 in the Falklands War". beyondships.com. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  6. ^ Mitchell, Tim (29 October 2013). "A Fish Out of Water". vimeo.com. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  7. ^ "UK ships seize £350m drugs cache". BBC News. 3 February 2006. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  8. ^ Bach, William (1 November 2004). "Royal Navy: Disposals". Hansard. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  9. ^ Ingram, Adam (12 November 2004). "Royal Fleet Auxiliary Oilers". Hansard. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  10. ^ "Leavesley International". Archived from the original on 25 April 2010. Retrieved 4 February 2012.

External links[edit]