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Volume 959: debated on Monday 4 December 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to acquire civilian tankers for use by the Navy; whether the ships concerned will be fully converted for fleet replenishment under way and manned by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary; and what ships they will replace.

The Ministry of Defence is negotiating the charter of two tankers which have been built by Cammell Laird. They will be employed as support tankers and will be modified to provide limited facilities for replenishment of the fleet at sea under way, and manned by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. The ships will replace two support tankers. One has already been returned to her owners; the charter of the second is due to terminate in March 1979.