NATO has moved a step closer to using commercial tonnage to refuel ships in a time of crisis following trials using a Maersk tanker.

The UK’s Royal Navy recently linked up with the 38,174-dwt tanker Maersk Peary (built 2004) off the UK coast to see whether oil could be transferred between the two vessels.

In the Royal Navy, such a task is typically carried out by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary a uniformed civilian branch of the naval service, staffed by UK merchant sailors.