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Friday, 24 October 2014

Deadline looms to buy warship HMS Cumberland

Anyone wanting to buy Cumbria’s adopted warship – HMS Cumberland – has until next week to do so.

HMS Cumberland photo
HMS Cumberland

The former Type 22 Royal Navy frigate – known as The Fighting Sausage – is one of four redundant warships axed as part of sweeping military cutbacks.

If no one comes forward to buy the ship then it could be sunk and turned into an artificial underwater reef.

The deadline for expressions of interest is January 23, with viewings for those invited to bid being held in February and March.

Offers that will be considered for the 5,300 tonne vessels include them being scrapped and recycled, reused or sunk to become artificial reefs.

The Government’s Disposal Services Authority (DSA), which is handling the sale of HMS Cumberland, HMS Chatham, HMS Campbeltown, and HMS Cornwall, says it will award at least one of the ships to a UK ship recycler.

All four were mothballed as part of the biggest round of cuts to the military since the end of the Cold War. They are currently moored in Portsmouth Harbour.

In 2004, the decommissioned Royal Navy warship HMS Scylla was sunk off Whitsand Bay in Cornwall, and has become a popular dive destination.

No ships similar to the Type 22 have been sold in recent years, so it is difficult to gauge what kind of price HMS Cumberland might fetch.

The ship weighs 5,077 tonnes, is 148.1m long and had an armoury including Harpoon missile launchers, anti-shipping missiles, anti-submarine torpedoes and machine guns.

HMS Cumberland was officially retired in June last year. She had enjoyed an illustrious career which had included operations to take on pirates and, in later life, to evacuate people from danger in Libya.

Tourist chiefs joked that it would be nice to see the boat moored off the Cumbrian coast but admitted that the cost of maintaining the vessel would be “colossal”.

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