Reproduced with permission of the MOD


RFA Appleleaf



Previous name:                         Hudson Cavalier
Subsequent name:                  HMAS Westralia    Shiraz

Official Number:                        388145                                                

Class:                                        THIRD LEAF CLASS Support Tanker

Pennant No:                              A79 - O195 - AO195

Laid down:                                5 November 1973
Builder:                                     Cammel Laird, Birkenhead

Launched:                                 24 July 1975
Into Service:                              8 June 1979

Out of service:                          12 September 1989
Fate:                                          Leased and then sold to Royal Australian Navy


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:   On 27 October 1978 it was announced that the MoD (N) was to charter 2 laid up STaT 32 standard product tankers which had originally formed part of a 4-ship order for commercial owners. After three of the ships had been laid down, the owners ran into financial difficulties and found that they were unable to accept the new ships. As they were the only mercantile order then in hand, the builders completed the three ships, and after running trials, they were laid up, two at Liverpool and one at Birkenhead. After some time had elapsed, the builders took over ownership of the ships by forming three subsidiary companies which then offered the ships for sale or charter. These eventually became RFA’s APPLELEAF (3), BRAMBLELEAF (3) and ORANGELEAF (3). Some years later, the 4th ship from this original order was built as RFA BAYLEAF (3). All four ships had additional accommodation and full RAS capabilities fitted and became useful units in the Fleet. Later on, a 5th vessel was chartered and was renamed RFA OAKLEAF (2), but she differed considerably from the earlier four Leafs


30 April 1973 ordered as part of a 4-ship order valued at around £20 million

October 1973 a loan of £4,296,160 was secured with Barclays Bank for her construction costs

24 July 1975 launched by Cammell Laird Shipbuilders Ltd, Birkenhead as Yard Nr; 1363 named HUDSON CAVALIER for John Hudson Fuel and Shipping Ltd (Hudson Steamship Co Ltd, Managers) Brighton. The Lady Sponsor was Mrs Barbara Mowat, wife of Mr D.T. Mowat, Manager of Barclays Bank

29 December 1975 ownership transferred to Mastlake Ltd, a subsidiary of the builders

December 1976 completed and was laid up at Liverpool with her sister HUDSON PROGRESS (later to become RFA ORANGELEAF (3)) after running acceptance trials


Hudson Cavalier and Hudson Progress laid up

27 October 1978 plans announced for her charter by MoD (N)

December 1978 purchased by Matheson & Co Ltd, London

10 December 1978 arrived on the Tyne for conversion by Wallsend Dry Docks Ltd

8 June 1979 officially bareboat chartered by MoD (N) and was renamed APPLELEAF (3)

September 1979 entered operational service on a 10 year charter

November 1979 Captain John D Fisher OBE RFA in command

10 December 1979 her Ship’s Badge was officially presented to her

June 1980 Captain Ray Gollop RFA in command

28 June 1980 at Wallsend on Tyne in refit

Appleleaf Wallsend4

A crane on the dockside collapsed on RFA Appleleaf - no injuries
© Mark Nugent - published with thanks

29 April 1981 at Bahrein

14 May 1981 at Singapore

22 July 1981 at Portsmouth

22 October 1981 at Singapore

29 January 1982 at Portland

27 March 1982 on passage from Curacao is diverted to Gibraltar to embark general naval stores then proceed south to support HMS ENDURANCE and RFA FORT AUSTIN

1 April 1982 arrived Gibraltar and berthed on the South Mole and loaded 6,610 metric tons of FFO and 19,530 metric tons of Diesel oil

2 April 1982 sailed south for service during Operation Corporate - the Falklands Conflict - escorted by the Rothesay Class frigate HMS PLYMOUTH.  Proceeded to Ascension Island to provide fuel for the Task Force on its arrival

11 April 1982 arrived Ascension Island as part of  TG 317.8 / 11 and anchored in Clarence Bay

14 April 1982 sailed Ascension Island for “tanking duties“ in the region of 40 degrees south

21 April 1982 received from the requisitioned BP Tanker British Tay 4,203 metric tons of FFO, 3,788 metric tone of diesel and 1,845 metric tons of AVCAT

26 April 1982 relieved from “motorway tanking duties” and headed for the TEZ

29 April 1982 joined the Carrier Battle Group to commence RAS (L) operations

30 April 1982 pumped her remaining avcat to RFA OLMEDA and then detached to replenish her own tanks from the requisitioned BP tanker BRITISH ESK

2 May 1982  rendezvoused with RFA TIDESPRING and transferred the latter’s avcat into her own tanks. The fuel had originally come from RFA BRAMBLELEAF (3)

6 May 1982 headed south in company with RFA BLUE ROVER escorted by the frigate HMS PLYMOUTH

8 May 1982 rendezvoused with RFA’s FORT AUSTIN and OLMEDA and commenced a  pumpover to the latter

1 June 1982 re-assigned to “motorway tanking duties”

25 July 1982 sailed Falkland Islands for home having conducted 125 RAS and pumpover evolutions

9 August 1982 arrived back at Rosyth on completion of Operation Corporate duties

10 August 1982 Captain W J Walker RFA appointed as Master

16 August 1982 at Rosyth RFA Engadine secured alongside

17 August 1982 at Rosyth commenced to load cargo

18 August 1982 RFA Engadine sailed

20 August 1982 sailed Rosyth on Exercise

27 August 1982 anchored at Harstad, Norway

30 August 1982 sailed Harstad, Norway

3 September 1982 berthed at Nord Statland Oil Fuel Jetty, Norway sailing again later in the day on exercises

13 September 1982 anchored at Esbjerg

14 September 1982 sailed Esbjerg to Plymouth

19 September 1982 anchored in Plymouth Sound

22 September 1982 berthed at Yonderbury Oil Fuel Jetty to discharge cargo

30 September 1982 moved berth from Yonderbury Oil Fuel Jetty to No 1 Jetty, Devonport Dockyard to discharge drums of lube oil

26 August 1983 berthed at Portsmouth Dockyard

December 1983 crew member of RFA Appleleaf appeared before Blenheim Court, New Zealand convicted of killing a woman and injuring three others while under the influence of drink. Fined £800 and advised he would have been sent to Gaol if he remained in New Zealand

24 November 1984 was presented with her Falkland Islands 1982 Battle Honour at Devonport by  Captain C.G. Butterworth, the Chief Marine Superintendent

22 September 1986 berthed at Portsmouth

Appleleaf at Portsmouth

image used courtesy of Tim Webb

5 January 1987 Captain Shane Redmond OBE RFA appointed as Master

5 April 1987 berthed at Dubai

24 May 1987 Captain J B Dickinson OBE RFA appointed as Master

12 June 1987 Captain Shane Redmond OBE RFA appointed as Master

1 October 1987 at Portsmouth

26 March 1988 berthed alongside at Portsmouth Dockyard

20 March 1989 at Gibraltar and Captain Pat Thompson RFA appointed as Master



1989 was awarded an inscribed plaque from the General Council of British Shipping to commemorate her service on Armilla Patrol between November 1986 and 20 August 1988 when the “Accompanying Policy” was in force. Other recipients were RFA’s  BRAMBLELEAF(3), DILIGENCE, OLNA(3), ORANGELEAF(3) and TIDESPRING

12 June 1989 at Rosyth Dockyard

RAN crew joining RFA Appleleaf Rosyth 1989

Royal Australian Navy crew members joining RFA Appleleaf
at Rosyth
Image courtesy of George Mortimer RFAHS member

5 July 1989 her last operational RAS as an RFA was with the frigate HMS CORNWALL

12 September 1989 at Immingham

24 September 1989 her charter agreement expired and she was transferred to the Royal Australian Navy on a $A 30m lease under management of Dawson Industries Ltd, Perth




27 September 1989 formally taken over by the Royal Australian Navy at Immingham

9 October 1989 renamed and commissioned as HMAS Westralia (O 195) under the command of Commander John Moore, RAN on a 5 year lease with an option to  purchase after this.




Cap Tally courtesy of the Naval Tankermen's  Association, Australia


19 December 1989 RASed HMAS DERWENT

20 December 1989 arrived Freemantle for the first time. Replaced  the elderly Australian flagship and destroyer tender HMAS STALWART,which paid off at Sydney, and which was subsequently  sold to Cypriot owners for further service as a passenger ship renamed  HER MAJESTY M.

3 December 1990 to 28 May 1991 served as part of Australia's commitment in the First Gulf War




January 1990 the Australian Special Air Service Regiment utilised heras a training platform during Exercise ANCHOR CHAIN

12 March 1990 was officially renamed HMAS Westralia by Mrs Delys Gration, wife of the Chief of the Defence Force, General Peter Gration, AC, OBE

15 March 1990 sailed HMAS Stirling for her first overseas deployment during which she visited Singapore, Hong Kong, Sattahip, Kelang, Penang, Kuantan and Jakarta, and conducted exercises with Australian, British, French, New Zealand, Malaysian and Singaporean ship

16 May 1990 to 21 May 1990 participated in the Royal Malaysian Navy’s 55th Anniversary celebrations and International Royal Fleet Review, following which she also participated in the Five Power Defence Agreement Exercise PASSEX 90-1

22 June 1990 to 10 October 1990 underwent a refit at Keppel Dockyard, Singapore

23 October 1990 berthed at HMAS Stirling

October 1990 had installed an RBS70 self defence missile system, 0.50 calibre machine guns and a new flight deck aft of the superstructure, making her capable of Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP)

2 January 1991 sailed HMAS Stirling for the Arabian Gulf, relieving HMAS Success in the Operation DAMASK Area of Operations on 26 January

25 May 1991 sailed the Arabian Gulf after conducting 90 replenishments with naval units from Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Spain, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States

9 June 1991 berthed at HMAS Stirling

11 June 1991 commended two month Assisted Maintenance Period

26 August 1991 sailed HMAS Stirling in company with HMAS Swan for Manila

5 September 1991 arrived Manila and provided humanitarian assistance to the inhabitants of the island of Luzon following the eruption of Mount Pinatubo

September 1991 participated in exercise ADEX 91-4 with naval units from Singapore and Malaysia

October 1991 participated in exercise NEW HORIZON with naval units from Indonesia

29 November 1991 berthed at HMAS Stirling

1991 was awarded the Kuwait 1991 Battle Honourby the Governor General of Australia

March 1992 participated in Exercise KANGAROO 92

2 October 1992 berthed at HMAS Stirling

5 October 1992 sailed HMAS Stirling to RAS HMAS Canberra and to participate in Exercise VALIANT USHER 92

14 January 1993 entered refit at Newcastle

19 June 1993 sailed from Newcastle at the end of her refit

2 July 1993 at Auckland, New Zealand

16 September 1993 deployed to Asian waters in company with HMA Ships PerthSwan and Canberra, and conducted exercises with naval units from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore and Japan

2 December 1993 berthed at HMAS Stirling

1994 Australia purchased the ship outright

February 1994 participated in the Fleet Concentration Period in east Australian waters

25 March 1994 sailed HMAS Stirling for South East Asian waters participating in AUSINA 1-94, the Five Power Defence Agreement Exercise IADS 2-94 and Exercise LUMUTEX

4 June 1994 berthed at HMAS Stirling

29 August 1994 sailed HMAS Stirling to participate in Exercises AUSTHAI and STARFISH, and the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the Philippines 

17 November 1994 berthed at HMAS Stirling

1994 Fleet Awards - was runner up - in addition, she was awarded the Afloat/Support Group Efficiency Award, and received special mentions for both hydrography (the Hydrographic Excellence Shield) and damage control and fire fighting (the Wormald Shield)

March 1995 operating in Australian waters - took part in Exercise KAKADU

April 1995 deployed to New Zealand to participate in Exercise TASMANEX

July/August 1995 took part in Exercise KANGAROO

25 August 1995 deployed to South East Asian waters,  in company with HMAS Perth (II), and participated in Exercises STARFISH and MARITIME GUARD

13 November 1995 berthed at HMAS Stirling

22 January 1996 entered refit at Newcastle until 22 May 1996

August 1996 participated in the Fleet Concentration Period followed by deployment to South East Asia waters to participate in Exercise STARFISH

October 1996 at Darwin and participated in Exercise SINGAROO

24 October 1996 berthed at HMAS Stirling

January 1997 assisted HMAS Adelaide in the rescue of solo around-the-world yachtsmen Thierry Dubois and Tony Bullimore when their respective vessels capsized in the Southern Ocean around 1350 nautical miles south-west of Freemantle. RASed HMAS Adelaide on the 11 January.

26 January 1997 sailed HMAS Stirling for the Fleet Concentration Period in February in eastern Australian waters

March 1997 took part in Exercise TANDEM THRUST in eastern Australian waters

April 1997 deployed to Asian waters for participation in Exercise FLYING FISH. The deployment was made somewhat more interesting due to the presence of Typhoons Opal and Peter in Japanese and Korean waters

14 June 1997 berthed at HMAS Stirling for a maintenance and leave period

October 1997 provided logistical support to Operation DIRK, which involved illegal fisheries patrols in the Southern Ocean

December 1997 participated in exercises in the West Australian Exercise Area

February 1998 deployed again in the Southern Ocean supporting operations to apprehend illegal foreign fishing vessels in Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone

5 May 1998 at about 10:31hrs near Rottnest Island having shortly before sailed from Fleet Base West, Western Australia suffered a serious fire following a major fuel leak in the engine room with four fatalities. Was out of service for 19 months for repairs and on board configurationally changes to be carried out. The resulting Inquiry found that contractors had been given inadequate training

1999 managers became Brown & Root Engineering Pty Ltd, Perth

22 November 1999 returned to service after an $A 8.3 million refit

14 February 2000 deployed for exercises in the East Australian Exercise Area and a brief visit to Hobart

13 March 2000 at HMAS Stirling with ongoing fuel pump problems

24 July 2000 deployed in company with HMAS Canberra to Darwin to participate in Exercise NORTHERN ENCOUNTER and Fleet Concentration Period 2000

October 2000 deployed to the South West Pacific where she conducted her 1000th RAS as a commissioned RAN vessel

3 November 2000 at Auckland, New Zealand

5 February 2001 berthed at Newcastle for refit

5 May 2001 sailed Newcastle for Brisbane to participate in Exercise TANDEM THRUST

2001 managers became Australian Defence Industries (ADI) Ltd, Rockingham

1 June 2001 berthed at HMAS Stirling

16 July 2001 sailed HMAS Stirling for Darwin and participation in Exercise KAKADU in the first week of August

13 August 2001 departed for a South East Asian deployment, however, the deployment was cut short on 28 August when she was re-tasked in support of Operation RELEX to intercept and deter unauthorised arrivals in Australia’s north-west approaches. Deployed on Operation RELEX duties for most of the rest of the year

January 2002 sailed in company with HMAS Canberra in support of Operation SUTTON, which was initiated following a request by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority for RAN support in the arrest of an illegal foreign fishing vessel operating in the Southern Ocean. The vessels Lena and Volga were apprehended in Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone and six Spanish nationals were charged with poaching $A2.5 million worth of fish. Another 37 crew-members from the two vessels were sent home.

7 March 2002 sailed HMAS Stirling and, interspersed with Operation RELEX duties in the vicinity of Christmas Island, conducted a series of goodwill visits to South East Asian ports including Penang, Singapore and Phuket

14 May 2002 berthed at HMAS Stirling for an Assisted Maintenance Period

26 July 2002 fsailed HMAS Stirling or Operation RELEX duties, a four-day visit to Phuket at the end of August 2002.

November 2002  in Singapore undergoing maintenance for 3 weeks

3 December 2002 arrived back at HMAS Stirling

13 January 2003 sailed HMAS Stirling for a logistics support deployment which would see her circumnavigate Australia, however, a catastrophic failure of a cylinder in her starboard main engine required the ship to return to HMAS Stirling for repairs 

14 January 2003 sailed again from HMAS Stirling - embarked were a number of Loggerhead Turtles from the Western Australian Aquarium for release south of Broome Harbour

28 January 2003 resumed Operation RELEX duties

February 2003 participation in Exercise TASMANEX and hosting a number of homeless and itinerant youths to a tour and lunch on board in Adelaide as part of the ship’s ongoing commitment to the Lions Club International Charity. During the deployment, her Marine Engineering Department was presented with the Australia Shield for Engineering Excellence.

7 March 2003 berthed at HMAS Stirling for an assisted maintenance period

24 April 2003 resumed further Operation RELEX duties

May 2003 returned to HMAS Stirling experiencing difficulties with her main engines which resulted in a main engine rebuild

October/November 2003 Members of the ship’s company took advantage of the time alongside by participating in a charity ride from Perth to Albany, and back to Rockingham . Ten cyclists, and their support team, cycled 1200 kilometres in seven days, raising over $13,000 in support of several charities, including the Malibu School for Children with Special Needs and the Lions Foundation for children’s mobility, cancer, sight and hearing research

November 2003 the Australian Defence Capability Review stated that the ageing, single-hulled tanker would be replaced by a more modern double-hulled commercial tanker to be purchased in 2005. This turned out to be HMAS SIRIUS

7 June 2004 sailed to Brisbane for a programmed intermediate docking

July 2004 sailed north to take part in Exercise SINGAROO in August at the conclusion of which, she continued north into Asian waters where she participated in the Five Power Defence Agreement Exercise BERSAMA LIMA

October 2004 participated in Exercise GOODWILL with the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force and participated in the commemoration activities for the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Leyte Gulf

6 November 2004 berthed at HMAS Stirling

23 May, 2005  deployed HMAS Stirlingto participate in Exercise TALISMAN SABRE in June

July/August 2005 undetook Exercise KAKADU in Australian waters

August 2005 sailed further north into Asian waters for Exercises DEEP SABRE

September 2005 undertook Exercise BERSAMA LIMA

9 October 2005 berthed at HMAS Stirling for leave and maintenance

23 January 2006 sailed HMAS Stirling and visited Sydney, Auckland, Wellington, Melbourne, Hobart and Adelaide

February 2006 took part in Exercises OCEAN PROTECTOR and TASMANEX

March 2006 participated in Operation ACOLYTE, the Australian Defence Force’s support operation for the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games

1 March 2006 at Auckland, New Zealand

24 March 2006 RAS'ed HMAS Warramunga her last replenishment customer

6 April 2006 arrived HMAS Stirling - Fleet Base West for the last time after her final 74-day deployment to New Zealand and the eastern and southern States of Australia

16 September 2006 decommissioned by Royal Australian Navy from active service having steamed 458,254 nautical miles and having conducted 1269 underway replenishments since commissioning in the RAN. Was laid up at HMAS STIRLING and was replaced by HMAS SIRIUS.

16 January 2007 purchased for A$2.75M and acquired jointly by the Norwegian based oil technology and services company known as the AGR Group in concert with the Helix Energy Solutions Group Inc., a Houston based energy services company for conversion into a  Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel in S.E. Asia

29 January 2007 owners registered as Shiraz Pty Ltd, Darwin (AGR Asia Pacific, Melbourne, Managers) and to be renamed SHIRAZ. Owners later amended to FPSO Shiraz Pty  Ltd

1 February 2007 sailed from HMAS STIRLING for the last time

May 2007 laid up with a reduced crew onboard at Karimum, Indonesia and offered for sale

December 2009 reported sold to Turkish ship breakers

16 January 2010 arrived at Aliagia, Turkey under tow by Neftegaz-61 for breaking up by Leyal Ship Recycling The tow lasted 82-days from port of Karimun, Indonesia to port of Aliaga, Turkey via Cape Town and the Straits of Gibraltar.




Arriving at the ship breakers are a 82 day tow




Awaiting demolition at Leyal Ship Recycling,  Aliaga, Turkey




1. HMAS STALWART was purchased by Searoyal Ferries Ltd, Cyprus and renamed HER MAJESTY M. In 1997 she was purchased by Lunen Mar S.A. , Panama and renamed TARA 11. They in turn sold her to Indian breakers and she was beached at Alang on 19/02/2003.for demolition by Goyal Traders.

2.  HMAS SIRIUS was the former merchant tanker DELOS.

24 January 2004  laid down

April 2004 launched by Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Ltd, Ulsan as Yard Nr: 0228 named DELOS for Mediterranean Fame Shipping (Tsakos Shipping & Trading S.A,) Greece.

April 2004 taken over by the Australian Navy after running builders trials and renamed HMAS SIRIUS. Converted for her new role in Australia.

19 September 2006  commissioned into the RAN

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2018 Christopher J White

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