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Update 11 Sept 2014 (1)

Post  Admin on Fri Sep 12, 2014 6:08 am

> 11th September 2014
> 48 hours to save last Falkands warship from Turkish scrappers, says MEP
> A Conservative MEP has launched a valiant last minute bid to save the last surviving British warship to serve in the Falklands War from the clutches of Turkish scrappers.
> David Campbell Bannerman has engaged in direct talks with the Turkish Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, to save HMS Plymouth, as well as supporting the HMS Plymouth Trust in issuing a claim in the High Court contesting the ship’s ownership.
He has also written to Sajid Javid, the Culture Secretary, for support and to the Public Accounts Committee asking why a ship donated by the Royal Navy as a memorial is being sold off for £1/2 million by property developers
> The warship is currently arriving in Turkey from Peel Ports’ Birkenhead Docks for scrapping and is due to arrive at its final destination in 48 hours’ time. The MEP has called for it to be returned safely and intact to for preservation as a memorial to those who died in the Falklands War.
> Commenting on the bid to save the ship, David Campbell Bannerman, said:
> “It is painfully apt that at a time when the British Union itself is under threat of being torn apart, a magnificent symbol of the benefits that Union has brought to us is also on the verge of destruction.
Many Scots fought on this ship in the Falklands.
> “I urge politicians across all Parties to join me in this battle to preserve this vital piece of our maritime heritage for future generations.
> “HMS Plymouth is a historic British ship and must be preserved in the manner of HMS Belfast, which is moored in the River Thames, or alternatively in a dry dock within the UK.
We are confident that appropriate funds can now be found to restore the ship in a safe and appropriate manner - if it is turned round now. We already have the offer of a suitable UK berth.
> “To scrap this vessel with little regard for its cultural and historic significance to the British people is outrageous. HMS Plymouth must be returned to the UK immediately.”
> HMS Plymouth was at the spearhead of the Royal Navy taskforce sent to liberate the Falkland Islands from Argentine invaders. It played a pivotal role in supporting British troops on the ground by bombarding Argentine troop positions.
> Alongside HMS Antrim, HMS Brilliant, and HMS Endurance, HMS Plymouth helped to recapture South Georgia. The wardroom of HMS Plymouth also served as the location where the surrender of Argentine Forces in South Georgia was signed by Lieutenant Alfredo Astiz.
> Named after the city of Plymouth, the Rothesay-class frigate served the UK Royal Navy from 1959 to 1988. As well as the Falklands, HMS Plymouth saw action in the Cod Wars between the UK and Iceland and, during the Cold War, served in the Far East.
> The vessel is a historic ship and its ownership is unproven and contestable. This has led to claims that HMS Plymouth has been removed illegally to Turkey - amounting almost to a claim of piracy.
> Peel Ports own the docks where HMS Plymouth has been berthed and sold the historic vessel to the Turkish scrapyard, however whether Peel Ports own HMS Plymouth has been disputed in the High Court (Admiralty Division).
> Worryingly, the vessel is believed to contain toxic materials and it was not ‘pre-cleaned’ prior to towing.
> The toxic components are safe when the ship is static and the British Health and Safety Directorate have confirmed the vessel is entirely safe for museum purposes, however if it is torn apart for scrap in Turkey, the toxic chemicals could become hazardous.

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