RFA Gold Rover (A271)

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RFA Gold Rover (A271) P sound.jpg
RFA Gold Rover leaving Plymouth Sound
United Kingdom
Name: RFA Gold Rover
Ordered: November 1971
Builder: Swan Hunter, Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom
Launched: 7 March 1973
Commissioned: 22 March 1974
Decommissioned: 6 March 2017
Identification: Pennant number: A271
Status: Awaiting Disposal
General characteristics
Class and type: Rover class
Displacement: 11522 tons full load
Length: 461 ft 04 in (140.61 m)
Beam: 63 ft 02 in (19.25 m)
Draught: 23 ft 11 in (7.29 m)
Installed power: 15,300 shp
Propulsion: 2 x 16 cyl Pielstick diesels
Speed: 19 knots
Range: 15,000 miles (24,000 km) at 15 knots (28 km/h)
Endurance: 8,000 nautical miles
Capacity: 3,000 m³ of fuel
  • 16 officers
  • 31 ratings
Crew: 60+
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
  • 2 × Oerlikon 20 mm guns
  • 2 × 7.62 mm machine guns
Aircraft carried: Helicopter deck but no hangar

RFA Gold Rover was a small fleet tanker of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and one of five[1] Rover-class ships that were designed by the Admiralty, all of which were built at the Swan Hunter shipyard.

Gold Rover and her sister Black Rover were the last two in service with the RFA[2] on duty around the world. The class were phased out as part of a worldwide effort to replace single-hulled tankers with more environmentally safe double-hulled vessels.[3] Gold Rover herself was decommissioned in a sunset ceremony at Portsmouth Naval Base on 6 March 2017.[4]

Class Characteristics[edit]

The Rover class was predominantly used to transport fuel, oil, aviation fuel for services around the globe; it could also carry limited dried stores of 340 tonnes such as munitions and refrigerated goods.[5] They were built with a flight deck large enough to accommodate two helicopters, although no hangar was fitted.

Operational history[edit]


In July 1974 Gold Rover participated in evacuation duties during the partition of Cyprus during the Turkish invasion of the island.[5]


Gold Rover was in Singapore at the time of the Falklands Conflict in 1982 and therefore took no part in the hostilities.

On 14 November 1984, Gold Rover sailed from Gibraltar on completion of refit, the last RFA to be refitted in HM Dockyard Gibraltar.[6]

Gold Rover participated in the 1986 Jamaican flood relief operations.

On 1 December 1990, Gold Rover lost her rudder in severe weather in the South Atlantic and sent out a distress call. Some of her crew were airlifted off and she managed to get to anchor seventeen miles east of Lively island to ride out the storm before she was towed by the tug Oil Mariner to Montevideo for repairs.


In January 2000 she was towed back to Devonport by two RMAS tugs after breaking down off Lizard Point.


2006 was a busy year for Gold Rover. She was in Nigeria in June 2006 for the 50th anniversary celebrations of the formation of the Nigerian Navy. As part of the celebrations there was a Fleet Review by President Olusegun Obasanjo.[5] On 6 October she, along with Royal Navy frigate HMS Argyll and Royal Marines from 40 Commando, seized more than two tonnes of cocaine during a major drugs haul off the coast of West Africa. The illegal drugs, which were found in an unregistered vessel, had a UK street value of some £60 million.

Gold Rover was part of a Royal Navy amphibious task group, the VELA Deployment 06, en route to Sierra Leone where she and other ships were taking part in a major amphibious exercise. Whilst on the way to West Africa Gold Rover was contributing to the global fight against terrorism and the Royal Navy's maritime security operations activity.


Gold Rover entered refit in the middle of 2013.[7] Gold Rover departed her home port for her last operational deployment in 2014.[8]

Rover participated the 200 year celebrations of Napoleon arrival on St Helena after his capture at the Battle of Waterloo on the 12th to the 16th of October 2015 [9] along with HMS Lancaster

In 2015, she participated in Operation UNITAS.[10]

Gold Rover entered Portsmouth for the final time on 22 February 2017, bowing out after 43 years of active service.[11]


External links[edit]