Cardigan Bay back in Falmouth

RFA Cardigan Bay

RFA Cardigan Bay returned to Falmouth for maintenance this week after three years in the Gulf supporting coalition operations and the Iraqi Navy.

While the ship was half way across the world, the Cardigan Bay was maintained by members of the Cluster Support Team, a joint venture between A&P and the MoD based in Falmouth, who regularly travel to the Gulf.

A&P Group has a five-year rolling contract with the MoD to provide upkeep support to some of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships worth more than £300 million.

The partnership has led to a much more economical approach to ship repair and maintenance throughout the RFA flotilla, with A&P being praised in Parliament last September for the “major part” it played in reducing MoD spending.

Kevin Murray, cluster support team leader for the MoD, said: “Providing maintenance to the ships while they are on long term deployment demonstrates the flexibility and advantages of the MoD working jointly with industry. It’s cost-effective because it minimises down time, making sure the vessel is available for operational requirements.”

Work included equipment upgrades to cooling and weapons systems; dry docking; operational support and general upkeep, and took place in ship yards in Dubai and Bahrain, and resulted in a partnership between A&P and Arab Ship Repair Yard (ASRY), which has been recognised as providing a ‘gold standard’ level of support to vessels within the operational theatre.

Gerald Pitts, A&P’s cluster programme director, said: “The contract offers excellent value for money to the MoD, which has been proven with the successful execution of over thirty projects, and most recently with the RFA Mounts Bay – the first ship in its class to undergo a major refit.

“We have a worldwide reputation for excellence and efficiency and have provided support in Dubai, Bahrain, South Carolina, Curacao and the Mediterranean. We are delighted our work has been highlighted once again with the RFA Cardigan Bay.”

Following the planned three-week maintenance period, the RFA Cardigan Bay is expected back in Falmouth in August for a major refit similar to that of the RFA Mounts Bay, which was completed last year.