General News

Two of The Strategic Sealift Ships to be Sold?

Mike Day spotted an article in Warship World regarding the disposal/sale of two of the Strategic Sealift ships managed by Foreland Shipping (Guernsey). Warship World has very kindly allowed the RFAA to publish the article….

Warship World March/April 2013
In January the MOD disclosed (in reply to a question) that in 2011, it carried out a review of the MOD’s Strategic Sealift requirement and concluded that for the movement of cargo by sea, better value for money would be achieved if the number of vessels contracted as part of the private finance initiative was reduced from six to four.  The Strategic Sealift service now comprises four British-flagged RoRo vessels manned by British mercantile marine officers and crews.
Under a PFI deal signed with the MOD on 27 June 2002 (and due to run until 2024) Foreland Shipping Limited were to provide six ships, of which four would be operated for the MOD while the remaining two could be commercially chartered out but remain at notice if required.  Three (HURST POINT, HARTLAND POINT and EDDYSTONE) were completed in 2002 and the other three (LONGSTONE, ANVIL POINT and BEACHY HEAD) were completed in 2003.  The shipbuilders were Flensburger (four ships) and Harland and Wolff (two).  The two ships removed from the Strategic Sealift have not been identified, but LONGSTONE and BEACHY HEAD have traditionally been commercially chartered out.  Bother vessels are currently operated by North Sea RoRo on a three times a week schedule sailing between the ports of Gothenburg and KillingholmeHumber.  The contract to operate these ships has now been extended to the end of 2013.
The MOD has not revealed whether the new requirement is for all the ships to be available at all times or whether some will be on extended notice and available for commercial work.  Nor has it explained why it failed to disclose the outcome of the 2011 review, at the time.  Furthermore, since then, there has been no disclosure of this decision either in Parliament or the naval press.

 We are on the case.
Reproduced here by very kind permission of Private Eye