RFA Wave Ruler (A390)
RFA Wave Ruler is a Wave-class fast fleet tanker of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) of the United Kingdom tasked with providing fuel, food, ammunition and other supplies to Royal Navy vessels around the world.
Wave Ruler was built by Kvaerner Govan (after 1999, BAE Systems Marine) and launched in 2001. She was accepted into service in 2003 and is the 2nd ship to bear this name in RFA service. Wave Ruler and her sister Wave Knight, were designed to replace Olna and Olwen, two Ol-class 36,000 ton fast fleet tankers which were built at Swan Hunter and Hawthorn Leslie in the 1960s.
September 2004 saw Wave Ruler deployed to the Caribbean to provide hurricance relief operations.
In 2006 the ship carried out three major cocaine seizures at sea. In September it recovered £64m of cocaine from an estimated cargo of £500m, after the crew of the fishing boat carrying the drugs set it on fire. On November 2 the ship and its accompanying Royal Marines captured 3 tonnes of cocaine worth £300m. On November 29 it seized a further 2.9 tonnes, again from a fishing boat. All the raids took place in the Caribbean.
Wave Ruler (background) refuels USS Robert G. Bradley in the Pacific Ocean
Wave Ruler (foreground), USS Mahan (DDG-72), CS Almirante Latorre (FFG 14), FGS Sachsen (F 219), and USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) navigate together in formation during an exercise.
On August 31, 2008 Wave Ruler was dispatched with HMS Iron Duke to assist relief efforts in the Caribbean for the Atlantic Hurricane Gustav. The vessels distributed food, water and first aid supplies to victims of the disaster as well as providing support restoring local infrastructure.
On October 3, 2008 the ship docked in Havana, Cuba. This was only the second time since the country's revolution 50 years earlier that a Royal Navy ship had visited the country. The five-day stay was part of an ongoing anti-drugs operation in the Caribbean, which saw the ship spend much of 2005-2008 in the region, confiscating over 13 tonnes of cocaine in total.
On November 8, 2008 the ship was sent to the Cayman Islands to provide humanitarian relief assistance in the wake of Hurricane Paloma.
In June 2009, she took part in exercise Bersama Shield with HMS Ocean and HMS Somerset off the Malay Peninsula.
During February 2010, Wave Ruler and the destroyer HMS York were deployed to the Falkland Islands during a period of increased tension between the United Kingdom and Argentina over the former's plans to begin drilling for oil in the seas surrounding the islands. While in the South Atlantic, Wave Ruler took part in the rescue of an I-Kiribati sailor who was taken seriously ill, refuelling an RAF 1564 Search and Rescue Flight Sea King helicopter while in flight. The deployment also saw the ships visit Southern Thule in the Southern Sandwich Islands, the first British warships to visit the islands for nearly 10 years.
November 2010 saw the vessel back in the Caribbean, where she distributed 160 tonnes of fresh water and 32,000 water purification tablets in St. Lucia after the effects of Hurricane Tomas. The deployment also saw the vessel visit Antigua and the British Overseas Territory of Grand Cayman.
Wave Ruler is due to spend summer and autumn 2011 again in the Caribbean deployed as Britain’s Atlantic Patrol Ship (North). She will embark a Mk 8 Lynx helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron for the duration.