Point-class sealift ship

The Point class is a class of six roll-on/roll-off sealift ships originally procured under a Private Finance Initiative to be available for use as naval auxiliaries to the British armed forces. Two of the ships have now been released from the contract, leaving four available for service with the military.

Mv longstone.jpg
MV Longstone
Class overview
Name: Point class
Operators: Foreland Shipping Ltd (formerly AWSR Ltd)
In service: 2002–present
Completed: 6
Active: 4 under contract with the MoD
General characteristics
Type: Roll-on/roll-off
Displacement: 23,000 tonnes full load[1]
Length: 193.0 m (633 ft 2 in)[1]
Beam: 26.0 m (85 ft 4 in)[1]
Draught: 7.6 m (24 ft 11 in)[1]
  • 2 × MaK 94M43 diesel engines; 21,700 hp (16,182 kW)
  • 2 propellers
  • Bow thruster
Speed: 21.5 kn (39.8 km/h; 24.7 mph)
Range: 17,000 km (9,200 nmi)
  • 14,200 DWT
  • 2,650 linear metres of space for vehicles
  • 130 armoured vehicles and 60 trucks and ammunition or 8,000 tonnes of vehicles
Crew: 18–22
Sensors and
processing systems:
I-band navigation radar
Aviation facilities: Can carry up to four helicopters including Chinook, Apache, Merlin and Wildcat.
Notes: Sourced from Jane's Fighting Ships 2008–2009, p. 876


The Point-class sealift ships are the result of the Strategic Defence Review and are designed by Houlder Ltd for the strategic transport of military cargoes and vehicles in times of need. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has purchased a 22-year charter from Foreland Shipping (previously named AWSR Shipping), who own, operate and crew the ships, utilising them as merchant vessels when they are not required for military service. The small British crews are provided by Foreland Shipping and are required to be sponsored reserves as a condition of service, which means they can be called up to become part of the Armed Forces in times of crisis. The benefits of this is that it guarantees crews in times of crisis, it means crew members can be expected to work under the Armed Forces Act 2006 rather than the Merchant Navy Code of Conduct, and that they would be classed as combatants and be afforded the rights granted under the Geneva Convention.

MV Hartland Point carrying military equipment during the Royal Navy exercise Cougar 12.

Of the six ships, MV Longstone and Beachy Head were on charter to the civilian company Transfennica operating a RoRo cargo ferry service in the Baltic Sea, connecting Hanko in Finland and Lübeck in Germany. Most recently they have been operating on the Immingham to Cuxhaven route for DFDS. Other ships have also been involved in commercial activity with other companies and other militaries. All ships are available to the MoD at very short notice if required. The first four ships have been kept almost constantly busy on MoD duties since the build-up to the Iraq invasion in 2003, but MV Longstone and Beachy Head have seen little MoD service and were sold in 2013 as a result of budget cuts.

Four ships were built by the German company Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft, the balance being built by Harland and Wolff in Belfast. All are named for British points and headlands. They replaced the Royal Fleet Auxiliaries Sea Centurion and Sea Crusader in service. Anvil Point was the last ship built by the Harland and Wolff yard.[2]

Operational historyEdit

MV Hartland Point was part of the COUGAR 12 Response Force Task Group and also active in operations off the Cornish coast in 2012.[3][4] MV Hurst Point made a port call at Gibraltar in August 2013 and was part of the COUGAR 13 Response Force Task Group.[5][6] Hartland Point recently worked with the Royal Navy and French Navy on Operation Corsica Lion 2015.[7] MV Hurst Point has been used to replenish the Falkland Islands garrison.[8]

PFI statusEdit

According to a Defence Select Committee report, "Four of the Ro-Ro ships are permanently contracted to the MoD with the other two at notice for MoD tasking. For the two ships at notice, one can be accessed in 20 days and the other in 30 days."[9]

In the Autumn 2011, it was stated that the two ships at short notice would be released from the PFI, leaving four ships available for use by the MoD.[10] The ships released were the MV Beachy Head and the MV Longstone, and the RMT union was informed that these vessels would be laid up or sold.[11]

Ships in the classEdit

Name Builder Commissioned
MV Hurst Point Flensburger Schiffbau[12] 16 August 2002[12]
MV Hartland Point Harland & Wolff, Belfast[12] 11 December 2002[12]
MV Eddystone Flensburger Schiffbau[12] 28 November 2002[12]
MV Anvil Point Harland & Wolff, Belfast[12] 17 January 2003[12]
MV Longstone (no longer available to the MoD) Flensburger Schiffbau[12] 24 April 2003[12]
MV Beachy Head (no longer available to the MoD) Flensburger Schiffbau[12] 17 April 2003[12]


  1. ^ a b c d The Royal Navy Handbook, 2003, Ministry of Defence, p. 104
  2. ^ Campbell, John (22 July 2019). "Growing concerns for Harland and Wolff Belfast shipyard". BBC. BBC Northern Ireland. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-02. Retrieved 2013-08-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-02. Retrieved 2013-08-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Port Visits". seawaves.com. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2011-02-23.
  6. ^ "Navy: Military Exercises: 5 Sep 2013: Hansard Written Answers - TheyWorkForYou". theyworkforyou.com. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  7. ^ "Corsican evacuation tests Anglo-French Task Group - Royal Navy". mod.uk. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  8. ^ johnt (15 February 2016). "Everything You Need To Know About British Forces In The Falklands". forces.tv. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  9. ^ "Strategic Lift" (PDF). House of Commons Defence Committee. 26 June 2007. Retrieved 31 December 2018.
  10. ^ "Shipping: 6 Nov 2013: Hansard Written Answers - TheyWorkForYou". theyworkforyou.com. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  11. ^ Todd, Steve. "Shipping News". RMT News July/August 2013. p. 26. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Jane's Fighting Ships, 2004–2005. Jane's Information Group Limited. p. 819. ISBN 0-7106-2623-1.

External linksEdit