|RFA Gold Rover is a small fleet tanker of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and is one of five Rover-class ships that were designed by the Admiralty, all of which were built at the Swan Hunter shipyard.
Today Gold Rover and her sister Black Rover are the last two in service with the RFA on duty around the world. The others have all been phased out as part of a worldwide effort to replace single-hulled tankers with more environmentally safe double-hulled vessels. Gold Rover will be decommissioned in 2017.
The Rover class is predominantly used to transport fuel, oil, aviation fuel for services around the globe. It can carry limited dried stores of 340 tonnes such as munitions and refrigerated goods. They also come with a helicopter landing pad that can accommodate 2 helicopters, although no hangar is fitted.
In July 1974 Gold Rover participated in evacuation duties during the partition of Cyprus during the Turkish invasion of the island. Gold Rover participated in the 1986 Jamaican flood relief operations. In January 2000 she was towed back to Devonport by two RMAS tugs after breaking down off Lizard Point.
2006 was a busy year for Gold Rover. She was in Nigeria in June 2006 for the 50th anniversary celebrations of the formation of the Nigerian Navy. As part of the celebrations there was a Fleet Review by President Olusegun Obasanjo. On 6 October she, along with Royal Navy frigate HMS Argyll and Royal Marines from 40 Commando, seized more than two tonnes of cocaine during a major drugs haul off the coast of West Africa. The illegal drugs, which were found in an unregistered vessel, had a UK street value of some £60 million.
Gold Rover was part of a Royal Navy amphibious task group, the VELA Deployment 06, en route to Sierra Leone where she and other ships were taking part in a major amphibious exercise. Whilst on the way to West Africa Gold Rover was contributing to the global fight against terrorism and the Royal Navy’s maritime security operations activity.
Gold Rover entered refit in the middle of 2013 and she departed her home port for her last operational deployment in 2014. Rover participated the 200 year celebrations of Napoleon arrival on St Helena after his capture at the Battle of Waterloo on the 12th to the 16th of October 2015 along with HMS Lancaster. In 2015, she also participated in Operation UNITAS.
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