Serco Denholm

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Serco Denholm
Industry Marine Services
Predecessor(s) Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service
Area served HMNB Portsmouth, HMNB Devonport and HMNB Clyde
Parent Serco Group & Denholm Group

Serco Denholm is a joint venture between Serco Group and Denholm Group to provide Marine Services in support of the Naval Service at its three main naval bases, HMNB Portsmouth, HMNB Devonport and HMNB Clyde.[1]


In 1976, the former Port Auxiliary Service merged with the Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service to provide Marine Services to the United Kingdoms Naval Service. However, Marine Services was put out to commercial tender by the Ministry of Defence Warship Support Agency (now part of the Defence Equipment and Support organisation) and since 1996 tugs, lifting craft, various tenders and management of HMNB Devonport, Portsmouth and Clyde have been operated and provided by Serco Denholm.[2] For the next contract put out by the MoD Serco & Denholm were the preferred bidders.[3] As a direct result of this, the Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service which had previously provided this role was formally disbanded on 31 March 2008.[4] All vessels formally prefixed RMAS assumed the SD prefix instead.

As of the International Festival of the Sea in 2005, Serco Denholm were operating over 120 vessels in support of the Royal Navy, including tugs, passenger vessels, pilot boats and a range of stores and tank-cleaning lighters.[2] In December 2007, Serco began a flagship £1bn Private Finance Initiative to provide marine services to the Royal Navy for the next 15 years. This contract includes the manning, operation and maintenance of over one hundred vessels and the introduction of around thirty new ones.[5]


As of 2012, there are over 100 vessels operated by Serco Denholm Marine Services.[5] All vessels carry the ship prefix SD and auxiliary (A) or yard (Y) pennant numbers. Vessels currently in service can be recognised by their black hulls with white beading and buff-coloured upperworks. Marine Services enables Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary Ships, including the United Kingdoms Strategic Nuclear Deterrent, to either move in or out of port for operational deployment and training exercises around the world. The service operates a large assortment of vessels including tugs and pilot boats as-well as transporting stores, liquid and munitions and providing passenger transfer services to and from ships for officers and crew.


Related Images
Ensign of the now privatized Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service 
SD Bustler in Portsmouth Harbour, 2009 
Powerful in Portsmouth Harbour 
Salmoor passing Gourock on the Firth of Clyde 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Damen and Serco put the Royal Navy to Sea". Retrieved 25 May 2010. 
  2. ^ a b International Festival of the Sea, Official Souvenir Programme, HM Naval Base Portsmouth June 30th-July 3rd 2005. International Festival of the Sea. 2005. 
  3. ^ "£1 billion MoD Marine Services contract". Retrieved 2011-12-06. 
  4. ^ Queen’s Thanks as Last Post Sounds for Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service
  5. ^ a b Serco Marine Services