RFA Olmeda (A124)

RFA Olmeda (A124) was an Ol-class "fast fleet tanker" of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. The ship was renamed from Oleander after two years in operation.

RFA Olmeda at sea
Name: RFA Olmeda
Builder: Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Wallend, Tyne and Wear
Yard number: 2004
Laid down: 27 August 1963
Launched: 19 November 1964
Commissioned: 18 October 1965, as Oleander
Decommissioned: January 1994
  • Olmeda, 4 December 1967
  • Niaxco, 5 July 1994
Identification: IMO number: 6501331
Fate: Arrived Alang for demolition, 17 August 1994
General characteristics
Class and type: Ol-class tanker
Displacement: 33,240 long tons (33,773 t) full load
Length: 648 ft (198 m)
Beam: 84 ft 2 in (25.65 m)
Draught: 24 ft (290 in)
Propulsion:Pametrada steam turbines, double reduction geared, single shaft
Speed: 21 knots (24 mph; 39 km/h)
Range: 10,000 nmi (19,000 km) at 16 kn (18 mph; 30 km/h)
  • 88 RFA
  • 40 RN
  • 2× 20 mm guns
  • Chaff launchers
Aircraft carried:Wessex or Sea King helicopters
Service record

In the last action of the Falklands War, Olmeda helped recapture the South Sandwich Islands.


The second of her class, Olmeda came into service in late 1965 as Oleander. As with its sister ships, Olmeda's early service was routine. However, in 1967, the ship had to be renamed from Oleander to Olmeda to avoid confusion with HMS Leander.

Operational history


In the Second Cod War, Olmeda supported Royal Navy ships twice.[1]


Olmeda joined the Armilla Patrol - the original Iraq/Iran conflict monitoring operation - in November, carrying 2 x Royal Navy Sea King helicopters plus associated aircrew and maintainers, on a five-month deployment. Due to political constraints, the ship was not permitted to pass through the Straits of Hormuz and therefore remained stationed outside the Persian Gulf.

Falklands War

Olmeda saw extensive service during the Falklands War, being one of the first ships to head south. Olmeda refuelled numerous ships of the Task Force including HMS Hermes, HMS Invincible, and the SS Uganda.[1]

After the Argentine surrender of the Falkland Islands, Olmeda, Yarmouth, Endurance and the tug Salvageman sailed to the South Sandwich Islands where Argentina had established a base in South Thule since 1976. Following a demonstration of Yarmouth's guns, the ten Argentine military personnel surrendered. Before leaving South Thule, Yarmouth was refueled by Olmeda on 21 June, which may have been the most southerly Underway replenishment in the history of the Royal Navy.[2]


Unlike the other two members of the class, Olmeda did not serve in the Persian Gulf during the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, but accompanied HMS Ark Royal in the Eastern Mediterranean, acting as station tanker, refuelling Ark Royal and her task group, and supporting other ships on their way to and from Operation Granby.


Olmeda's service came to an end a great deal earlier than Olwen and Olna. In 1993, the ship was decommissioned, and was sold for scrapping to an Indian company.


  1. "RFA Oleander(4)". Historical RFA. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  2. "The race to regain Thule". Navy News p.21. August 1982.

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