RFA WAVE KNIGHT is a Wave-class fast fleet tanker of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) of the United Kingdom tasked with providing fuel, food, fresh water, ammunition and other supplies to Royal Navy vessels around the world.
WAVE KINGHT was built by VSEL (after 1999, BAE Systems Marine) in Barrow-in-Furness, being launched in 2000. She was accepted into service in 2003 and is the second ship to bear this name in RFA service. WAVE KNIGHT and her sister WAVE RULER replaced the elderly OLNA and OLWEN two Ol-class 36,000 ton fast fleet tankers built at Swan Hunter and Hawthorn Leslie respectively in the 1960s. She is currently commanded by Captain Ross Ferris, RFA.
WAVE KNIGHT has a standard crew of 80 Royal Fleet Auxiliary personnel with provision for a further 22 Royal Navy personnel to conduct helicopter and weapons systems operations. She carries a full medical team and sick bay and is capable of distributing 2,000 emergency relief packages in times of crisis.
The ship has the capability to supply fuel and other liquid cargo to vessels using replenishment rigs on port and starboard beams and through a Hudson reel-type stern rig. When providing support for amphibious operations, WAVE RULER is also able to deliver fuel to dracones positioned alongside. In addition to fuel, the ship carries ammunition and other stores which can be transferred while underway. She can operate a Merlin HM1 helicopter, or other helicopters of similar size, from a hangar and flight deck at the stern.
In October 2004, WAVE KNIGHT and the frigate HMS MONTROSE provided assistance to the stricken Canadian submarine HMCS CHICOUTIMI , which ran into difficulties 100 miles (160 km) north-west of County Mayo, Ireland after 2,000 litres of seawater entered the vessel due to hatches being left open in the fin. Three of the Chicoutimi's crew were airlifted to hospital in Ireland, one dying en route.
During 2008 and 2009, WAVE KNIGHT was deployed to the Middle East, where she acted as Arabian Gulf Ready Tanker (AGRT) in support of Allied forces, providing fuel and supplies to ships from over eight nations.
Between 17–21 May 2008, the WAVE KNIGHT participated in Exercise Khunjar Haad, a multi-national exercise held in the Gulf of Oman. Other participating warships included the American destroyer USS RUSSELL (DDG-59), the French frigate SURCOUF (F711), the British frigate HMS MONTROSE (F236), and four other coalition ships conducted air defense; surface warfare operation; visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS); and joint gunnery exercises, which focused on joint interoperability training and proficiency.
On 18 April 2009, Royal Navy personnel operating from WAVE KNIGHT in the Gulf of Aden managed to intercept and fend off two pirate attacks involving the vessels HANDY TANKERS MAGIC and FRONT ARDENNES u sing the ship's armament. At 0800, the ship received a distress call from MV HANDY TANKERS MAGIC indicating that they were under attack by pirates and requesting assistance. Arriving on the scene, WAVE KNIGHT gave chase to the pirate skiff and using its weapons as cover, held it and its 'mother boat' until the Dutch naval vessel HNLMS DE ZEVEN PROVINCIEN arrived. 13 Hostages were released and the pirates' weapons were destroyed. Within two hours, another distress call was received by WAVE KNIGHT from the vessel MV FRONT ARDENNES, also under attack by pirates. Arriving to give support, the ship prevented the pirates from boarding the tanker, firing warning shots and causing the pirates to flee. With helicopters from the NATO task group ships HMCS WINNIPEG and USS HALYBURTON, WAVE KNGHT gave chase for six hours, until the HMCS WINNIPEG arrived, disarming the pirates.
The then Commanding Officer of WAVE KNIGHT, Captain Pilling, said:
“RFA WAVE KNIGHT is a modern replenishment ship designed to be able to support a myriad of coalition maritime operations. Our primary role is refuelling and aviation operations, but we are fully capable of conducting anti-piracy operations in and around the Horn of Africa. We have been on station for over a year providing support to many nations, and we remain committed to helping ensure maritime security”.
Captain Pilling, Royal Navy interview.
On 23 October 2009, personnel aboard WAVE KNIGHT witnessed the kidnapping by Somali pirates of two British citizens, Paul and Rachel Chandler, from the yacht LYNN RIVAL Despite coming to within 15 m of the couple's vessel, they did not intervene for fear of endangering their lives. When giving a speech at Chatham House on 27 November 2009, First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope made his position on the crew's conduct clear, stating that "They do not appreciate, and I do not like them, being branded cowards".
In 2009–2010, the ship underwent a re-fit in Liverpool. As of February 2011, she was back in service.
On 25 April 2011, WAVE KNIGHT left Portland and joined the COUGAR 11 deployment, the first of the Response Force Task Group deployments, where she is acting as a supply/support ship. The deployment also saw her take part in Exercise Cypriot Lion, off the coast of Cyprus.
3 June 2011 saw WAVE KNIGHT and the vessels HMS ALBION, HMS SUTHERLAND and RFA FORT ROSALIE, ordered to break away from the COUGAR 11 deployment and head to the coast of Libya to take part in Operation Unified Protector, the ongoing NATO operation there. By late June the vessels were back on the RFTG tasking, and after passing through the Suez Canal began Operation Red Alligator, a major exercise in the Red Sea with the Armed Forces of Saudi Arabia.
February 2012 saw WAVE KNIGHT operating in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden as part of Operation Scimitar Anzac, an anti-piracy operation in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. This international operation included the Royal Navy destroyer HMS DARING , the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS PARRAMATTA , and the Pakinstan Navy's PNS BABUR. WAVE KNIGHT acted as the replenishment vessel for the ships. She returned to the UK on 16 March 2012 to prepare for a refit period after ten years of operations. During the refit upgrades were made to the ships engine, cabins, and air conditioning systems.
In January 2013, WAVE KNIGHT departed Portland for a six-month deployment to the Caribbean, where she will act as Atlantic Patrol (North), relieving RFA ARGUS. The ship will conduct anti-narcotic operations and standby to provide humanitarian aid for the 2013 hurricane season As of 1 May 2013, RFA WAVE KNIGHT was seen Docked in Miami's Port Government Cut. On 17 June she called into the port of Willemstad, Curaçao at the Otrabanda Megapier.
Tristan da Cunha 2005 envelope
In June 1795 news reached St Helena that the Dutch Revolutionary Party had joined France in the war against England.
Captain William Taylor Money was at St Helena at that time with the GENERAL GODDARD during his fifth voyage from India.
In haste he fitted his ship out for battle, to intercept a Dutch merchant fleet known to be nearing the island.
The GENERAL GODDARD got help from the HMS SCEPTRE a 3rd Rate 64 gun ship, and the packet SWALLOW.
18 May 1795 a Dutch fleet of 16 VOC ships sailed from the Cape, escorted by two warships the SCIPIO and KOMEET bound for the Netherlands. Due to bad weather and adverse winds, eight ships returned to the Table Bay where she arrived on 20 May. One day later the eight ships sailed out again, but had lost the contact with the convoy.
14 June 1795 were these 8 ships captured by the British ships off St Helena. (Not much is given in the Dutch books I have on the VOC about this loss)
The HMS SCEPTER under command of Captain Essington arrived at St Helena in May with a convoy of homebound ships, and she brought the news that armies of France had overran the Netherlands.
Then the packet SWALLOW arrived on 2 June from the Cape with the news that an important Dutch convoy was underway from the Cape to the Netherlands.
Capt Essington made a request to the Governor of St Helena that some of the East Indiamen of the company could be put under his orders, to assist them in the search and capturing of the Dutch convoy.
The MANSHIP, GENERAL GODDARD and the SWALLOW were put under his command, and some troops from the island embarked on this vessels.
03 June this small squadron sailed out and the search for the Dutch convoy began. Five other East Indiamen were prepared to join the squadron, the ASIA, LORD HAWKESBURY, ESSEX, AIRLY CASTLE and BUSBRIDGE. All available space on the island was loaded with the goods unladed from the ships, even the church was used.
The LORD HAWKESBURY, after sailing and in an attempt to weather the island, split her sails, and returned to St Helena. The ESSEX got also in problems when her fore-top-mast sprung. The BUSBRIDGE was the only ship what made contact with the squadron.
10 June one of the ships of the Dutch fleet the HOUGLY was seized and send to the roads of St Helena accompanied by the SWALLOW, after she delivered her at the roads the SWALLOW returned to the squadron with a number of additional seamen to reinforce the squadron.
The weather was not so good; a lot of gales and the MANSHIP and BUSBRIDGE lost the contact with the squadron.
On the afternoon of 14 June, seven sails were sighted on the weather bow, steering down before the wind.
GENERAL GODDARD sailed through the Dutch convoy on about 01.00 a.m. and was fired at, without returning fire.
The next morning at day-break, the Dutch fleet was still on the starboard bow of the HMS SCEPTRE and SWALLOW, and at 07.00 a.m. she displayed Dutch colours, whilst their commodore fired a gun to leeward. This was repeated by the SCEPTRE, and Capt. Essington supposed it would be followed by
‘heaving to’ of the Dutch ships, but the Dutch ships sailed on, three shots fired by the SCEPTRE ahead of the Dutch convoy did not give the result the British hoped for.
A signal was given to the GENERAL GODDARD to chase the Dutchmen to the SCEPTRE, when the GENERAL GODDARD instantaneously appeared under a cloud of canvas and was laid alongside the Dutch commodore ship ALBLASSERDAM who from her imposing appearance thought that she was a warship, and the ALBLASSERDAM followed Money’s directions to bear down.
The Dutch crews of the other ships fired several shots to the SCEPTRE and at the boats that were sent out with boarding parties. After the SCEPTRE did give a few broadsides the Dutch surrendered. At the same time the ASIA and BUSBRIDGE arrived and all seven Dutch vessels were boarded and taken as a prize, without the loss of any person.
All the ships came to anchor in the night of 17 June on the road of St Helena.
01 July the SCEPTRE with her prizes and British convoy sailed for England, the prizes arrived at Shannon, Ireland, where she were sold. The ZEELELIE (not visible on stamp) which had attempted to escape was wrecked off the Scilly Islands that year.
A painting, which depicts this battle, was made by the British artist Thomas Luny (1759 – 1837) for Captain Money of the GENERAL GODDARD (other source gives the painting was made for Robert Wigram the owner); the painting is now in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.
After this painting the stamp is designed. Not the complete painting is shown but only the central portion of the painting.
The ZEELELIE and HMS SCEPTRE and the packet SWALLOW are not shown on the stamp.
The GENERAL GODDARD, in foreground of stamp, with the six remaining Dutch ships, which can be seen in the background of the stamp.
The VOC ships taken were used regular between Holland and the Far East after she were built, the URL gives a search engine for the VOC ships http://www.inghist.nl/Onderzoek/Projecten/DAS/search for more information on the voyages.
The SURCHEANCE is not given, so most probably she was never used from Holland, or a hired vessel.
ALBLASSERDAM: Named after a town in the Netherlands. Built in 1782 on the yard of the VOC at Zeeland for the Chamber of the VOC at Amsterdam.
She sailed from Ceylon in 1795, with a cargo on board with a total value of 457.491 Dutch Guilder, under command of Capt. Klaas Keuken, with on board 165 persons, one died during the voyage and 11 disembark at the Cape.
MENTOR: Built on the VOC yard of Zeeland in 1789 for the Chamber of the VOC in Zeeland.
Tonnage 560 ton.
Sailed from Batavia on 22 November 1794, with a cargo on board with a total value of 61.361 Dutch Guilder. She was under command of Capt. Ulke Barendsz with on board 50 persons.
(I believe this MENTOR is also depict on the British Indian Ocean Territory stamp issued in 1999 60p sg 229, not any MENTOR is mentioned in Rowan Hackman book on the “Ships of the East India Company”. The year on the stamp is the same as when the MENTOR was built)
MEERMIN: (Mermaid). Built in 1782 at the VOC yard at Amsterdam for the Chamber of the VOC at Amsterdam.
Tonnage 500 ton.
Sailed in 1795 from Batavia under command of Capt. Gerard Ewoud Overbeek with on board 40 persons.
DORDWIJK: Built in 1787 in Rotterdam for the Chamber of the VOC of Delft/Rotterdam.
Tonnage 800 ton
22 November 1794 she sailed from Batavia under command of Capt. Hendrik Willem Ketjen with on board 40 persons.
Built in 1782 by Randall, Rotherhite for William Money.
30 January 1782 launched under the name GENERAL GODDARD.
She made her first voyage under command of Captain Thomas Foxall for the British East India Company to Bombay, she made three voyages more to India, before she was sold in 1790 to Robert Wigram.
Her next voyage to Bengal was under command of Capt. Thomas Wakefield, thereafter she made a voyage under command of Captain W.T.Money, and during this voyage she assisted HMS SCEPTRE in the capture of seven Dutch East Indiamen off St Helena.
Thereafter she made one more voyage under command of Captain Thomas Graham from 1796 till 1798 to the Coromandel Coast and Bengal.
1798 After her arrival back in England, sold as a West Indiamen for the trade to the West Indies.
January 1800 taken by a Spanish 1st Rate, 80 gun and a frigate, 32 guns off Cuba, while on a passage from London to Jamaica and taken to Havana.
Then she disappears in history.
Tonnage 799 tons, dim. 116.7 x 35.11 x 14.9ft.
VROUWE AGATHA: (Lady Agatha). Built ?, she was hired by the Chamber of the VOC of Amsterdam.
Tonnage 900 ton.
22 November 1794 she sailed from Batavia under command of Capt. Herman Pieter Murk, crew ?
On board was a cargo with a total value of 115.960 Dutch Guilders.
SURCHEANCE: Bought in 1786.
Tonnage 768 ton.
Sailed 22 November 1794 from Batavia under command of Capt. Christiaan Zummack, crew ?
Cargo on board with a total value of 81.527 Dutch Guilder.
1795 The SURCHEANCE was lost on her voyage between St Helena and the U.K.
Source: Van Compagnie naar Koopvaardij by Dr. E S van Eyck van Heslinga. Log Book Volume 14 page 234. http://www.bweaver.nom.sh/brooke/brooke_ch8.html Ships of the East India Company by Rowan Hackman.