The Point class
is a class
of six roll-on/roll-off sealift
ships procured under a Private Finance Initiative
and available for use as naval auxiliaries
to the British armed forces
. They were the result of the Strategic Defence Review
and are designed for the strategic transport of military cargoes and vehicles in times of need. The UK Ministry of Defence
has purchased a 22-year charter from Foreland Shipping (previously named "AWSR Shipping"), who own, operate and crew the ships, utilising them as merchantmen
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 Naval Discipline Act
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.
Of the six ships, two are on charter to the civilian company "Transfennica" operating a RoRo cargo ferry service in the Baltic. Other ships have also been involved in commercial activity with other companies and other militaries. It should be noted that all ships are available to the UK MOD at very short notice if required.
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 RFA Sea Centurion and Sea Crusader in service.
- MV Hartland Point
- MV Anvil Point
- MV Hurst Point
- MV Eddystone
- MV Longstone
- MV Beachyhead
The ships have a gross tonnage of 23235 tonnes and length overall of 193m, they are powered by two MaK M43 engines with Beachy Head, Longstone and Eddystone having 9 cylinder engines with an output of 2 x 8100 kW and the rest having 7 cylinder engines with an output of 2 x 6300 kW