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Sunday, 25 November 2012

BAE Systems boss says shipyard may close


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One of BAE Systems' major shipyards could be closed, the company's UK chief executive Nigel Whitehead has said.

He told the Sunday Telegraph a decision would be made by the end of the year.

The firm was working with ministers to explore all options for maintaining the UK's shipbuilding capability, he said.

The future of its three main shipyards - in Portsmouth, and Govan and Scotstoun on the River Clyde - after two new aircraft carriers are completed has been in doubt for some time.

There are fears there will be insufficient work available to keep all three busy and profitable as cuts in defence spending take their toll.

"The issue is how to consolidate... but make sure that we've preserved the capability to design and manufacture complex warships," Mr Whitehead told the newspaper.

"We anticipate that there will be a reduction in footprint and we anticipate... that part of that might actually be the cessation of manufacturing at one of the sites."

Earlier this year the company appointed consultants to carry out a review of the business. The firm's yard in Portsmouth is widely believed to be the most vulnerable, with 1,500 jobs at risk.

However, two bases on the River Clyde, at Govan and Scotstoun (The old Yarrow shipyard) are also under scrutiny.

BAE Systems says it is working closely with the government to explore all options for maintaining the UK's shipbuilding capability.

The Ministry of Defence says that it is up to the company itself to decide how best to deliver the naval vessels

For more on the story see BBC Scotland website



The Rise and Fall of British Shipbuilding The Rise and Fall of British Shipbuilding
This is the story of how, from modest beginnings, Britain rose throughout the 19th century to become the greatest shipbuilding nation in the world. It begins with the age of sail, then moves on to the days of iron-hulled steamers. It shows how conflicts arose between the traditional shipwrights and the new men who came from the metal industries, leading to the infamous demarcation disputes. It is also the story of men like Brunel and Armstrong, geniuses who were always looking for change and development. It is also the story of decline in the 20th century, when yards were no longer as innovative as their foreign competitors and the British merchant fleet shrank from being the biggest in the world at the start of the century to ranking number 38 at the end of it. It is a story of great achievements and tragic collapse.


While the above news is not new to the shipbuilders involved what is pretty new is being regarded as “A Footprint” you just have to love the buzzwords being used today, the British Isle’s losing yet another hard pressed shipyard, is it any wonder that the last two ships ordered by the U.K. Government went to a yard in Korea, this was for the build of two new fleet oil tankers for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary a job that was only tendered by one of the remaining shipyards in Britain and even they dropped out of the running as they felt they did not have the required expertise anymore to build such a vessel,

along with another less well publicised ship to be built that being a research ship for work in the Antarctic by the National Environmental Research Centre.

All in all a pretty damming indictment on a country that just gives up on it’s skills base because the bean counters run it all now.

This ship is being built in Northern Spain and is due to be launched next autumn.

A ship to do the same work as the RSS BRANSFIELD which was built at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb in 1970

Nothing against the shipbuilders of Northern Spain they have been building ships for many years but why is this work not being done in a British yard and helping to secure the future of the skills required to build ships of this type, a question that has been asked of successive governments since the demise of the fiasco which was British Shipbuilders in the 1980’s.


A picture above of the RSS BRANSFIELD at work in Antarctica (Photo by G.Hart)
doing the type of work that the new ship will also be doing the one that is just now being built in Northern Spain.

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Sunday, 11 November 2012

Lest we forget!

 
 
 
 
A picture is worth a thousand words.
 
 

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Restoration of the SS EXPLORER continues


The SS EXPLORER at her berth at Leith Docks
(Photo by permission of the SS EXPLORER Society)





It is on a more positive note than the previous entry to report that work continues on the old steam vessel SS EXPLORER with the work being carried out by volunteers in the docks at Leith in Scotland.




Amazing & Extraordinary Facts Steam Age





 
Simon the chairman of the SS EXPLORER preservation Society get his award presented by Her Royal Highness the Princes Anne

Historic Leith ship wins prestigious award
Aboard HM Belfast, Greenwich in October, presented by HRH Princess Anne:
The SS Explorer Preservation Society is proud to announce that our Chairman
Simon Sawers has been awarded a Marsh Volunteer Award for Historic Vessel
Conservation.
SS Explorer is an historically important Leith registered fisheries research
vessel currently moored in the Edinburgh Dock, Leith. Built in Aberdeen in
1955 and included on the National Register of Historic Ships, SS Explorer is
the last steam powered ship of her kind in Britian and, like the RSS
Discovery before her, was built solely for the purpose of scientific
research.
The SS Explorer Preservation Society is a small volunteer society concerned
with the restoration and preservation of this unique vessel.
Simon Sawers, 25, has been a volunteer aboard the SS Explorer for more than
half his life! Over the last two years Simon has taken on the role of
Society Chairman and through hard work and determination he has revitalised
the Preservation Society, grown its volunteer base and actively led the work
required to save this historic ship for the nation. Simon says:
“I am delighted to have been nominated but this award reflects on all the
crew and volunteers aboard the Explorer and encourages us all to continue
with such a worthwhile and unique project. I first became involved with the
Explorer in 1999 aged 12, when I was given a tour of the ship with the local
Sea Cadets, where I was a member. I returned to the ship the following
weekend, and have been actively involved in restoration since. I am still
the youngest volunteer aboard the ship though we do have a lower average
volunteer age compared to other historic ships. Explorer offers a wealth of
opportunities for the local and national communities which we are keen to
exploit.”
Further information:
If you would like to arrange an interview, or obtain further information or
photographs please contact:
Pete McDougall, SS Explorer Community Engagement Officer
Tel: 0131 538 1512
Email: pete@somerled.org.uk
SS Explorer Preservation Society
http://www.ss-explorer.com/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/SS-Explorer/154464821267370
https://twitter.com/SS_Explorer



They tell me that the ship could do with being moved to a better berth in the port but it would seem that Forth Ports who run the ancient old port of Leith nowadays are dragging there heels over this, so come on Forth Ports get your finger out and help these guys all that you can, they have even been recognised by the Historic ship society and a presentation was given to one of them by Royalty not long ago in recognition of around 15 years of working and caring for this fine old ship and giving up his spare time for the cause.

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If you happen to be around the area and want to get involved then just get yourself along to the docks at Leith and ask around.

You can also help from afar by joining as a member on the website here.







A lot of work needs done on the old ship to bring her back to pristine condition so join up to help.

Replica of HMS BOUNTY sinks

The replica HMS BOUNTY in happier times at the Tall Ships in Halifax 2012
(Photo from the Loftsman Collection)
The sad loss of the replica HMS BOUNTY and two of her crew including her Captain
(Photo credit unknown but probably by the U.S.Coastgaurd)




It was sad to see the loss of a fine old replica ship the past week and even sadder to see that two life’s were lost along with the old vessel going down in the surrounds of the huge storm that hit the Eastern Seaboard of The United States given the name Sandy.

This replica which was built for the movie that had Marlon Brando in it called “Mutiny on the Bounty” was built in Nova Scotia around 50 years ago.


The Way of a Ship The Way of a Ship
From the author of Godforsaken Sea -- a #1 bestseller in Canada and one of the best books ever written about sailing ( Time magazine) -- comes a magnificent re-creation of a square-rigger voyage round Cape Horn at the end of the 19th century. In The Way of a Ship , Derek Lundy places his seafaring great-great uncle, Benjamin Lundy, on board the Beara Head and brings to life the ship's community as it performs the exhausting and dangerous work of sailing a square-rigger across the sea. The beautiful, widow-making, deep-sea sailing ships could sail fast in almost all weather and carry substantial cargo. Handling square-riggers demanded detailed and specialized skills, and life at sea, although romanticized by sea-voyage chroniclers, was often brutal. Seamen were sleep deprived and malnourished, at times half-starved, and scurvy was still a possibility. Derek Lundy reminds readers what Melville and Conrad expressed so well: that the sea voyage is an overarching metaphor for life itself. As Benjamin Lundy nears the Horn and its attendant terrors, the traditional qualities of the sailor -- fatalism, stoicism, courage, obedience to a strict hierarchy, even sentimentality -- are revealed in their dying days, as sail gave way to steam. Derek Lundy tells his gripping tale with the kind of storytelling skill and writerly breadth that is usually the ken of our finest novelists, and in so doing, imagines a harrowing and wholly credible history for his seafaring Irish-Canadian ancestor. From the Trade Paperback edition.