Reproduced with permission of the MOD


RFA Sea Centurion
Sea Centurion 2


Previous name:                  Stena Ausonia, Und Ege

Subsequent name:             Mont Ventoux, Stena Forwarder, Ark Forwarder, Wilhelmsborg 

Official Number:                 223648000 / 901501                                                             

Class:                                Strategic Sealift Ro-Ro 

Pennant No:                       A98

Laid down:                         15 June 1996
Builder:                              Societa Esercizio Canteri, Italy  

Launched:                          July 1997
Into Service:                       18 October 1998
Out of service:                    25 July 2002
Fate:                                  Returned to owners


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:   The formation of the Joint Rapid Deployment Force (JRDF) which later became the Joint Rapid Reaction Force (JRRF) was announced in mid-1996 and the M0D had to look around for additional freight carrying capacity. It had also been announced in April 1996 that two ro-ro ferries were to be purchased. The JRDF included elements of 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines and 5 Airborne Brigade and its armoured reinforcement would have imposed additional transportation requirements over and above that of the existing fleet of LSL’s. Because it had not always been possible to find suitable vessels at short notice, it was decided in the short term that at least one, but perhaps two, commercial ro-ro vessels should be bareboat chartered with the option to extend this charter at the end of the agreed period. Stena Line was at that time committed to building five new ro-ro’s in Italy and they agreed to charter two of these to the MoD on a long-term agreement. These were originally supposed  to have been nos. 2 and 3 of the 5-ship order, but owing to building delays, the original Turkish owners cancelled the order for the first one and the MoD were offered nos. 1 and 2. These were to become SEA CENTURION and SEA CHIEFTAIN.The latter was named by Mrs Squire, the wife of Commodore N D Squire on 5 May 1998 via a radio link from Sweden, and should have entered service in April 1999, but owing to continuing building and operational delays, hercharter was cancelled. 


July 1997 launched by Societa Esercizio Cantieri Navali SpA, Viareggio as Yard Nr 1546 named STENA AUSONIA for Stena Line, Sweden. Sold to UND Ro-Ro, Turkey before completion and was renamed UND EGE

28 January 1998 bareboat chartered by the MoD (N) and was renamed SEA CENTURION by Mrs Caroline Richards, the wife of Brigadier D Richards, the Chief of RDF (Ops)

18 October 1998 completed by INMA, La Spezia and handed over at Genoa, Italy to enter operational service

6 November 1998 arrived at Marchwood Military Port for the first time

15 February 1999 sailed Emden, Germany as part of Operation Agricola for Salonika, Greece

18 May 1999 while letting go from the North West Wall of  Portsmouth Naval Base, Motorman 1 Paul King was struck by a mooring rope and died from multiple injuries

11 November 1999 sailed Flushing

12 November 1999 arrived at and sailed from Millbay Docks, Plymouth

9 April 2000 arrived at Marchwood Military Port

27 April 2000 sailed from Marchwood Military Port

27 August 2000 berthed at Gibraltar

5 October 2000 at Marchwood Military Port

8 January 2001 to 9 January 2001 berthed at Gibraltar

2 February 2001 to 3 February 2001 berthed at Gibraltar

21 February 2001 berthed at Gibraltar

14 March 2001 to 16 March 2001 berthed at Gibraltar

27 March 2001 in dry dock at A & P, Wallsend on Tyne

18 April 2001 end of initial charter period - charter extended

16 May 2001 at Marchwood Military Port

June 2001 Chief Officer Peter Simpson RFA was in command

29 June 2001 at Augusta

23 July 2001 berthed at Gibraltar

5 September 2001 berthed at Marchwood Military Port

November 2001 Chief Officer Martin Harper RFA was in command

8 November 2001 in transit in the Suez Canal

20 November 2001 at Marchwood Military Port

22 December 2001 berthed at Marchwood Military Port

20 January 2002 in transit in the Suez Canal

23 January 2002 arrived at Augusta

9 February 2002 berthed at Commissioners Wharf, North Shields

15 February 2002 arrived at Marchwood Military Port

18 February 2002 berthed at Bergen, Norway

16 March 2002 sailed from Marchwood Military Port

19 March 2002 berthed at Antwerp

28 March 2002 berthed at Marchwood Military Port

13 May 2002 berthed at Rosyth

25 June 2002 berthed at Antwerp

5 July 2002 at Marchwood Military Port

19 July 2002 arrived at Marchwood Military Port for the last time as an RFA

25 July 2002 ceased to be classified as an RFA

27 August 2022 handed over to her owners Stena Ausonia Ltd (Northern Marine Management Ltd. - Managers) at Liverpool

17 January 2003 acquired by Sudcargo on charter and renamed MONT VENTOUX

30 August 2005 renamed Stena Forwarder forStena Ferries Ltd ( same Managers)

2005 Acquired by Acciona Transmediterranea on charter , name unchanged

November 2006 chartered to the Danish MoD for the ARK Project - the strategic sealift for Danish and German military and other NATO countries

January 2007 acquired on charter by DFDS Tor Line, name unchanged, and was initially placed on the Rotterdam - Immingham service.

February 2007 renamed Ark Forwarder



March 2007 transferred to the Gothenburg - Tilbury service

9 August 2008 while on passage from the Thames Estuary to Tilbury, the chief and third engineers were in the engine control room (ECR) when an electrical earth was detected on the vessel’s calorifier sited in the bow thruster compartment. The Electro Technical officer (ETO) was woken at 0230 to rectify the fault and arrived in the ECR 10 minutes later. He then made his way to the bow thrusters compartment and, at about 0250, the chief engineer noticed the alarm indicating the earth stopped. Shortly afterwards, the third engineer left the ECR to conduct routine rounds of the engine room and found the ETO pinned between a powered watertight door and its frame. He was unable to open the door because the movement of its operating lever was impeded due to the position of the ETO. The third engineer raised the alarm and the ETO was eventually released after the door’s hydraulic system had been de-pressurised. The crew’s attempts to revive the ETO were not successful, and he was pronounced deceased by paramedics who met the vessel as she entered Tilbury dock

5 October 2010 at Cuxhaven, Germany

January 2011 was employed on the Rotterdam - Harwich service

26 June 2011 moored at Cuxhaven, Germany

10 November 2011 at Souda Bay, Crete

1 February 2012 moored at Cuxhaven, Germany

5 May 2012 off Abu Dhabi, UAE

24 May 2012 alongside at Toulon, France

June 2012 changed to French registration - call sign now FIEB

4 August 2012 sailed Tenerife, Canary Islands

11 August 2012 at Marseille, France

17 August 2012 sailed Marseille, France for La Goulette, Tunisia

19 August 2012 at Tunis harbour

23 August 2012 sailed Tunis to Marseille

25 August 2012 arrived at Marseille and sailed the same day La Goulette, Tunisia

27 August 2012 arrived at La Goulette, Tunisia

17 April 2014 sailed Immingham

17 April 2014 berthed at Esbjerg, Denmark

19 April 2014 sailed Esbjerg, Denmark

22 April 2014 berthed at Immingham

8 July 2014 berthed at Palermo

9 July 2014 sailed Palermo to Genoa

10 July 2014 berthed at Genoa

12 July 2014 berthed at Palermo from Genoa

13 July 2014 sailed Palermo

15 May 2015 ship renamed Wilhelmsborg under the British Registry

12 August 2015 sailed from Baltimore

22 August 2015 at Oran

4 September 2015 in the Ionian Sea

6 September 2015 berthed at Mersin, Turkey

27 November 2015 at Mersin, Turkey

4 December 2015 berthed at Livorno, Italy

7 December 2015 berthed at Genoa, Italy

9 December 2015 berthed at Tarragona, Spain

10 December 2015 berthed at Sagunto, Spain

13 December 2015 passed to the north of Maderia while on passage to Rio Haina

26 May 2016 at anchor off Genoa, Italy in the Ligurean Sea

22 June 2016 arrived Barcelona

23 June 2016 sailed Barcelona for Genoa

6 May 2017 at Rotterdam Anchorage

7 May 2017 at Zeebrugge, Belgium

4 June 2017 at Zeebrugge, Belgium

5 June 2017 arrived at Goteborg, Sweden

6 June 2017 sailed Goteborg, Sweden

14 June 2017 berthed at Zeebrugge, Belgium

18 June 2017 sailed Zeebrugge, Belgium for Genoa, Italy

14 September 2017 at Palermo

26 September 2017 at Genoa

Sea Centurian

Ark Forwarded moored at Genoa

28 September 2017 at Palermo

29 September 2017 at Genoa

30 September 2017 at Palermo

1 October 2017 arrived Genoa, Italy

4 January 2018 at Tangiers, Morroco

6 January 2018 at Marseilles, France

8 January 2018 at Tangiers, Morroco

9 January 2018 berthed at Casablanca, Morroco sailing later the same day

11 January 2018 at Tangiers, Morroco

13 January 2018 arrived at Marseilles, France sailing later the same day

15 January 2018 passed Gibraltar berthing later at Tangiers, Morroco then sailing the same day

16 January 2018 berthing at Casablanca, Morroco sailing later the same day

17 January 2018 anchored off Tangiers, Morroco

18 January 2018 sailed Tangiers Anchorage

20 January 2018 berthed at Marseilles, France sailing later the same day

21 January 2018 berthed at Genoa, Italy

17 February 2018 sailed Genoa, Italy

18 February 2018 berthed at Naples, Italy




1.  SEA CHIEFTAIN had been completed to about 50% with the hull works completed when the contract was cancelled. The shipyard went into liquidation in 1999 and work ceased. Stena Ro Ro of Sweden bought the incomplete ship from the bankruptcy estate at an auction in 2002 and renamed her STENA SEAFREIGHTER. The ship was towed to a berth in Toulon where she lay for 6 months. Finally in February 2003 the ship was towed to Croatia but the shipyard there too went into liquidation and she was towed to Venice, but was subsequently finally completed at Kraljevica in Croatia. At the end of February 2006 the ship was finally delivered to Stena renamed STENA FREIGHTER.The 3rd ship in the series was purchased by Enrico Bugazzi Shipmanagement, Italy named ARONTE and was towed to Marina di Carrara to be completed. In 2004 she was transferred to Stena Line and renamed STENA CARRIER 11 until she too was purchased by Stena in the spring of 2006 and renamed STENA CARRIER.The fourth and fifth ships in the series were never built.

while letting go Sea
Centurion, a ro-ro cargo ship of 2 1,104gt, from the North West Wall in the
Portsmouth Naval Base, a motorman was struck by a mooring rope and died from
multiple injurieswhile letting go SeaCenturion, a ro-ro cargo ship of 2 1,104gt, from the North West Wall in thePortsmouth Naval Base, a motorman was struck by a mooring rope and died frommultiple injuries




Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

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