The views expressed on this web site do not represent those of either The Royal Maritime
Auxiliary Service or Serco Ltd Marine Services.
WHAT WAS THE ROYAL MARITIME AUXILIARY SERVICE?
The Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service used to form the major part of the Marine Services
organisation which existed to support the Royal Navy. It was a branch of the Ministry
of Defence (Naval).
It provided a versatile, flexible and cost effective service which included harbour
tugs and pilots to assist ships of the Fleet when berthing and un-berthing; delivering
fuel, water and victualling stores with purpose built vessels and craft to ships
in harbour; transporting ammunition; ferrying personnel to and from ships at anchor
or secured to buoys, and providing specially designed vessels for other tasks such
as moorings and salvage, torpedo recovery , underwater research and development and
All RMAS vessels had a buff coloured superstructure and black hulls with an all round
white riband at deck level.
There has been a need to supply the Fleet prior to sailing and on its return since
the days of Pepys when all support functions were carried out by civilian manned
organisations. The RMAS took shape over the last 30 years, initially by the amalgamation
into the Port Auxiliary Services of various separate areas of waterborne activity
formerly managed by Captains of Dockyards, Senior Victualling , Armament Supply and
Naval Stores Officers. This was later followed by the amalgamation in 1975 of the
then separate Services comprising Ocean Tugs, Admiralty Cable Ships and certain trials
vessels into the RMAS.
In August of 1996 the running of the majority of the RMAS vessels were awarded to
Serco Ltd Marine Services Ltd under a Government Owned/Commercially Operated (GOCO)
contract. The RMAS remained in operation until April 2008 running only the trials
ship RMAS NEWTON and the various Mooring and Salvage vessels. After this time they
were added to all the harbour tugs, passenger carrying vessels and barges are operated
by Serco Ltd Marine Services. The RMAS also had the Naval Armament Vessel (NAV)
KINTERBURY which is being kept very busy transporting cargo throughout Europe. Up
in Kyle of Loch Alsh the RMAS operated vessels which are there to support the range
at Raasay and personnel based on Rona, all of which have now been transferred to
Serco Ltd Marine Services.
As of 1st April 2008 when Serco Ltd Marine Services became the contractor responsible
for the operation of all Marine Services vessel in the UK, following the award of
the Future Provision of Marine Services (FPMS) contract by MoD. And thus a new era
has begun for “The Job”. All existing vessels operated by both RMAS and Serco Ltd
Marine Services have been registered as commercial vessels and have had the prefix
“SD” added to their name, thus RMAS NEWTON is now renamed SD NEWTON.
The vessels detailed in this site are all vessels based at HM Naval Base Devonport
in Plymouth. and Falmouth.