Penny Mordaunt on plans to build three new boats
Penny Mordaunt has unveiled designs for three new ships to replace the Royal Yacht Britannia and represent Brexit Britain around the world.
The new ships are the culmination of a five-year project by the Leader of the House who undertook the work as part of her role as MP for Portsmouth North.
The 135-metre vessels will act as platforms to promote British trade, be used for international emergency interventions and are tipped to even deal with the immigration crisis.
Ms Mordaunt told the Daily Express the vessels, which will be privately funded and built at shipyards in the UK, mean “the spirit of the Royal Yacht Britannia will live on”.
She said they will “fly the flag” for the UK and “perform the role the Royal Yacht would have performed if it was around now”.
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The project puts an end to the long speculation over what will replace Britannia after the old Royal Yacht was mothballed by Tony Blair’s government.
Ms Mordaunt said: “The UK is a proud maritime nation, whose expertise is recognised and respected around the world.
“These multi-purpose ships seek to build on this by providing additional capacity to our existing fleets to deliver additional training, scientific research and disaster relief, while giving businesses space to show off innovative British products and services.
“They are not designed merely to replicate what we had in the past, but are based on a serious and detailed assessment of what the country needs in the future in a cost-effective way by working closely with the private sector.
“These ships will fly the flag for the UK and will provide important additional resources for humanitarian relief and scientific research.
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“Their construction and maintenance will benefit the whole maritime sector, providing vital opportunities to train the next generation of shipwrights, captains, navigators and engineers.”
She added: “They will benefit regions across the UK, including in my constituency of Portsmouth North, whose port and maritime sector will I hope play an important role in the life of these vessels for years to come.”
Speaking about the old Royal Yacht, now permanently moored in Edinburgh, she said: “I understand the comparisons to Britannia having grown up in the home port of Portsmouth.
“She was iconic. If Britannia were around today this is what she’d be doing- showcasing the best of what our nation has to offer and working in partnership internationally.”
The boats will be 50 percent manned by apprentices and provide a training platform for merchant navy of UK and Commonwealth nations, generating income.
They will help meet the government levelling up objectives and support the UK shipbuilding strategy. Ambition is to have vessels will be 100 percent UK-built, smoothing out fallow period in UK yards.
The ships will deliver mariner training, scientific research, disaster relief, secure accommodation and communications, freight and passenger services and a space for British businesses to showcase their innovative products and services.
Unlike the old Royal Yacht there will be no bill or liability for UK taxpayer with the first one estimated to cost £150 million and the other two significantly less.
Shipyards in Portsmouth, Devon, the North East, Scotland and Northern Ireland are expected to carry out the work on the project.
What you need to know:
- Length – 135m
- Breadth – 23.4m
- Draft – 5.2m
- Speed – 18 knots
- Range – more than 6000 nautical miles
- Adaptable cargo space – 12000m3 and capable of transporting more than 2000 tonnes of aid
- Designed to handle roll-on/roll off wheeled cargo, containers and pallets and can deploy landing craft to deliver aid across a beach
- It can remain on station unsupported for 21 days
- Accommodation for crew and 200+ persons including Cadets, Trainees and VIPs
- The first vessel has an estimated cost of £150 million, with second and subsequent ships costing significantly less.
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