Skip to main content


The civilian-manned Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) provides support to Royal Navy Ships worldwide.

RFA vessels provide a platform for a range of specialist activities, including aviation training, forward repair (maintaining Royal Navy vessels at sea), casualty evacuation and treatment (hospital ships), landing military personnel and other active support during military operations.

As well as operating in war zones, RFA vessels have been involved in the fight against piracy in the Gulf of Aden, and in the seizure of illegal drugs in the Caribbean – and they have played a prominent role in disaster relief operations.

On RFA vessels, the personnel most likely to be Nautilus members are shipmasters and ship's officers (navigation and engineering). Other members of the Union work as systems engineers, or in roles such as logistics and supply management. Nautilus does not take RFA ratings as members, as another union has a recognition agreement covering this group.

Collective bargaining agreement

Nautilus has a collective bargaining (recognition) agreement with the RFA.

Become a Nautilus member today