Pulling back the curtains this morning curiosity was awakened. In the semi-darkness a vessel was clearly visible along with one or two small local fishing boats. A moment or two later a squall hid the mystery vessel from sight. What could this be? It clearly wasn’t a vessel belonging to the Northern Lighthouse Board. Both NLB Pharos and NLB Pole Star were elsewhere. Was it a Fishery Protection Vessel?
The mystery vessel did not appear on AIS (Marine Traffic) but subsequent research has revealed her to be most likely a Royal Fleet Auxiliary Wave Class vessel and probably RFA Wave Ruler.
The ships are crewed by 72 Royal Fleet Auxiliary personnel and there is also provision for 26 Royal Navy personnel for helicopter and weapons systems operations.
Wave Ruler was built by Kvaerner Govan (after 1999, BAE Systems Marine) and launched in 2001. She was accepted into service in 2003 and is the 2nd ship to bear this name in RFA service
She has extensive aviation facilities and can carry an additional eight refrigerated 20ft containers when needed. She has a cargo capacity of 16,000 cubic metres, which include 3,000 cubic metres of aviation fuel, 380 cubic metres of fresh water, and 500 metres of dry cargo. She has a large one spot flight deck, hangar and maintenance facilities capable of supporting two Merlin helicopters. She is fully capable of self-defence, which a defensive fit which includes 30mm cannon and the ability to receive two Phalanx close-in weapon systems (CIWS).
Her main activity is patrolling in our pre-defined operating area providing support to the Royal Navy and coalition warships. Wave Ruler provides the fuel and stores that allows these ships to remain operational for extended periods. This is a demanding environment and the ship never knows what challenges will be faced, whether it is at the operational end of the Service’s business, countering piracy, humanitarian relief, medical emergency or evacuating UK and other nationals from troubled areas.