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Nautilus has made representations to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) expressing members’ concerns about the military-style design for its three newbuild Fleet Solid Support ships.

Members are unhappy with the decision to remove all ports from within the accommodation block.

RFA Commodore David Eagles said in a November announcement that, to secure funding from the Ministry of Defence (MOD), it was necessary to make a trade-off in the ship design, with ports removed.

The ships will be approximately 40,000 tonnes with a design that centres on cargo carrying capacity and a large clearway for cargo flow to deliver solid support.

The design includes single cabins with ensuite facilities and a fridge, and ‘industry standard’ WiFi throughout the vessel.

Team Resolute, consisting of Harland & Wolff, Navantia UK and BMT, was appointed as preferred bidder for the newbuilds in November.

Commodore Eagles said: ‘The new ships bring new equipment, technology, and operating practices which in turn demand a continued investment in the training and skills of our seafarers.’

A Royal Navy spokesperson said: ‘The Fleet Solid Support ships will give the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and Royal Navy a huge leap forward in capability and long-term support to our Carrier Strike Group. They represent the growth and long-term sustainability of the RFA and will provide high-quality and secure employment for the RFA workforce for decades to come.

‘We continue to work with the preferred bidder and all stakeholders during this exciting period, as the RFA fleet grows for the first time in several generations.’

The ships are expected to enter service from 2030 after which RFA Fort Victoria will enter retirement.


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