Company pushes ahead with plan to sell HMS Plymouth for scrap
THE owners of the veteran warship HMS Plymouth appear to be determined to send her to scrap in spite of attempts to save the ship.
The HMS Plymouth Trust claimed that with only a matter of days to go to the end-of-month deadline, Peel Ports had not yet applied for an export licence.
But the company, which owns Vittoria Dock at Birkenhead, where HMS Plymouth is berthed, said: “We have been in meetings with both the Environment Agency and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency over conditions for export.
“These involve obtaining a Transfrontier Shipment licence and setting up an MCA towage plan aimed at ensuring no pollution occurs during the towing of HMS Plymouth to the scrapyard in Turkey.
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“The deal to sell the ship to Turkey has been agreed and will happen when the necessary conditions for export have been met.”
Meanwhile Chris Swift from the HMS Plymouth Trust claimed that there was still live ammunition on the ship which would delay its export.
“Unknown to many, HMS Plymouth is in fact a fully operational warship apart from her engine.
“The Environment Agency has mentioned to me that in fact her weapons are operational and she also contains ammunition such as live Sea Cat missiles, mortar bombs and shells.
“They can of course be removed but the MoD would have to be involved.”
Peel Ports did not comment on Mr Swift’s claims.
The ship, which was built in Devonport in 1959, has been promised a berth in Northumberland if she can be saved.
The HMS Plymouth Trust says it needs to raise £400,000 before the end of this month. (September.)
When she was first decommissioned in 1988 Lord Owen, the former Devonport MP, and a group of volunteers fought to keep her in Plymouth. For a year she was berthed at Trinity Pier in Millbay Docks. She finally ended up in Birkenhead.
In a joint partnership between the Warship Preservation Trust and Wirral Borough Council she was opened to the public in May 1992.
The trust went into voluntary liquidation and the ships were closed to visitors in 2006. HMS Plymouth was closed up and left to deteriorate at Vittoria Dock.
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