RFA Olna (A123) was a fast fleet tanker of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. Its design was a development of the Tide-class ships of the late 1950s. Olna entered service as the UK was pulling back from its final large imperial garrisons. Much of the ship's early life was spent supporting routine deployments around the world. However, 1982 saw a deployment that was far from routine.
Olna left for the south Atlantic as part of the second wave of ships to leave the UK during the Falklands War. That group was centred around the destroyer HMS Bristol. Once Olna reached theatre, its time was primarily spent fueling the carrier battle group.
In 1990, another wartime deployment beckoned. As forces built up in the Persian Gulf, Olna joined the British task force on station. Olna arrived in August 1990, shortly after Iraq invaded Kuwait, and apart from a short maintenance period in Singapore was on station for the whole duration of the conflict. Olna operated further north than any other tanker as the US Navy was leery of mines after two ships had been severely damaged.
At the end of the 1990s, retirement was in sight. 1999 and 2000 were spent in mothballs at Gibraltar until the outbreak of a crisis in Sierra Leone called for Olna to make one last deployment. The ship did not proceed to Sierra Leone, but instead relieved other RFA vessels of participation in a major exercise off Scotland. Following this exercise, the ship returned to reserve and decommissioned soon thereafter. In March 2001 Olna was sold to a Turkish shipbreaking firm.
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