Short notice, but an unusual ship is visiting London for a few days, and will pass through Tower Bridge this evening.

RFA Proteus (c) @FirstSeaLord

The Multi Purpose Offshore Vessel RFA Proteus is a new addition to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary added this year in response to increased concerns about Russian attacks on submarine cables and other underwater infrastructure. The threat was heightened by the sabotaging the Nordstream pipelines in the Baltic Sea last September.

The ship was built in 2019 as a commercial offshore support vessel for P&O Maritime Logistics to support subsea construction and installation projects, subsea inspection and survey, and as a mother ship to support remotely operated vehicle (ROV) operations. Earlier this year, the ship was bought by the Ministry of Defence and has been refitted as a multi-role ocean surveillance (MROS) ship operated by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, a civilian-manned fleet that provides support to the Royal Navy.

Conversion of RFA Proteus was completed last month, and the ship began post-conversion sea trials. She was expected to be handed over to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary by late 2023.

The ship will be in London for a few days.

The RFA Proteus will arrive this evening (6th Oct 2023), passing through Tower Bridge at 8pm, and will be in London until next Thursday (12th Oct 2023) when she leaves at 11:15am. It is likely to be moored up next to HMS Belfast during the visit, which we can presume will include the formal handover ceremony to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

There’s no expectation of public access – just a chance to see the newest addition to the UK’s maritime fleet up close.


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