Not all the MEOs hold Chiefs tickets.For your awareness we do have 3 stripe commands, this is when our ships are at a low op tempo and not expected to go play with the navy all departments at this point are minimally manned and are at TSoC (Tailored Scheme of Compliment) Low. On balance when we go following the RN into more dangerous waters our manning scale is supposed to shift to TSoC High.
All our (3 Stripe) MEOs and Chief Mates hold the correct licences to act as Chief Engineer and Master of our ships respectively; what the Naval Service believes is that like on RN big ships, a little more experience is normally needed to Command vessels of that size and critical importance while on operation. Especially given that replenishment at sea is probably one of the most dangerous evolutions ships can do at sea (without opening fire on each other). Our more junior deck and marine engineers are qualified to do the same on limited tonnage, in the same way a Lt RN could be appointed captain of a patrol boat. However no one has provided the RFA with ships that small for a very long time*.
The question should not be about removing stripes from qualified officers, the RFA have earnt theirs as much as the RN. It should be do we have the right balance of skills / experience and numbers of people onboard to complete our missions. You seem to suggest that we dont, and that would be an interesting discussion to be had .. but probably best to start a new thread if we want to head down that rabbit hole!
*edited for spelling and as a friend has just mentioned that the new work boats require a licenced deck officer to be in charge of them.