Skip to main content


Volume 482: debated on Wednesday 12 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential of using commercial vessels in support of Royal Navy operations, in respect of (a) cost, (b) crewing arrangements and (c) numbers of vessels available for charter; (234759)

(2) what assessment his Department has made of the complementary roles in support of the Royal Navy which can be fulfilled by (a) the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and (b) commercial vessels.

The MOD uses a combination of commercial, auxiliary and military vessels. It does so after considerable consultation and analysis of the most efficient and effective means of meeting the requirement to ensure that we deliver value for money, taking into account of factors such as the potential threat level and the availability and capability of suitable assets including crews. While commercial vessels have expertise and equipment to suit their own specific trades, they do not have the training and skills for military operations and consequently there are limitations to their use, particularly in higher threat environments.