I have been fully active in trying to rescue the Falklands naval veteran HMS Plymouth which was sent to a scrapyard in Turkey, including arranging to see the Turkish Prime Minister next week. I represent Horatio Nelson’s home county, Norfolk, and I greatly love our great naval heritage.
I am sorry to report that despite all our efforts, those of the HMS Plymouth Trust and others, which included the offer of funds to repurchase and rescue the ship by an interested party at the 11th hour, it was very sadly too late.
The ship had already been substantially scrapped when the offer was made. The fuller story is in this article.
I regard the behaviour of Peel Ports in selling off what was listed as a charitable asset and whose ownership has been legally challenged in the High Court for scrap money, and then insisting the ship was destroyed immediately (jumping the queue of waiting ships for scrap) as simply disgraceful and disreputable. I believe this record may well compromise future planning cooperation with Peel Ports.
I will continue to seek the return of these monies from Peel Ports to a suitable naval heritage trust to safeguard other naval vessels and to seek an investigation into the company’s actions by the Charity Commissioners.
I remain deeply disappointed at the lack of conservation of Britain’s great naval heritage and will campaign to ensure the loss of this ship – the last Falklands vessel and a Cold War veteran – will mark a true watershed in UK naval preservation for the better.