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Appledore could be saved if ferry plans are backed

Babcock International’s historic Appledore shipyard in Devon could be saved from closure if the government backs plans for a new ferry to serve the Isles of Scilly.

The shipyard faces closure after 163 years with the loss of 199 jobs following government dithering over the awarding of contracts to build new support vessels for the Royal Navy.

General union GMB says the Scilly Isles needs a new ferry to replace the current 41-years-old vessel Scillonian III, which was itself built with government financial support.

The plan has been raised by the Friends of Isles of Scilly Transport (FRIST) which has written to local MPs urging them to take up the proposal.

GMB has also called on Derek Thomas, MP for St Ives and Penzance, and Geoffrey Cox, MP for Torridge and West Devon, to seek support from Shipping Minister Nusrat Ghani.

GMB national officer Ross Murdoch said: “GMB demands that every opportunity that seeks to preserve the 163-year history of Appledore shipyard must be explored.”

He said awarding Appledore a new ferry contract could save the shipyard and its jobs until the Royal Navy contracts are awarded.

FRIST co-ordinator Marian Berkeley said: “It is particularly striking that Appledore shipyard, a significant icon in the maritime history of the South West and key local employer, is being allowed to fall silent with little protest when there is an urgent need for a purpose designed replacement ferry able to maintain the lifeline link between Penzance and the Isles of Scilly.”


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