Portsmouth’s Labour Leader has called for more ship repair work to be undertaken in the city to secure the industry and protect local jobs in the Dockyard.
The call follows news that HMS Lancaster a type 23 frigate, is to be towed to Devonport in Plymouth for a refit and not its home port of Portsmouth this summer.
HMS Lancaster was originally built on the Clyde and joined the Royal Navy’s Fleet in 1992. The multi-role ship has been deployed on drug-busting or maritime security patrols around the world. She has been laid up in the Dockyard since the end of 2015.
Cllr Stephen Morgan, who represents Charles Dickens ward where the Dockyard is based said:
“What people in the industry who rely on these jobs tell me is that what is key for the Dockyard’s future is securing more ship repair work in our city. Sadly more and seems to be going to Plymouth and elsewhere.
We have the skills and expertise in Portsmouth. It’s time our city is prioritised for these jobs”.
Naval shipbuilding and repair operations started in the city when the first dock was built in 1194. The world’s first dry dock was constructed in 1495.
Last week a union leader said it was important for Portsmouth to seize the opportunity when the tenders are invited by government to create new naval supply ships in the pipeline for construction.
GMB want the new breed of Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships built as soon as possible to replace three fleet solid support vessels.
Plans for the new ships were confirmed in 2015’s Strategic Defence and Security Review.
Cllr Morgan added:
“It is hugely important for our local economy that the city becomes an international shipbuilding location once again.
Whilst building new ships in Portsmouth will help achieve this, there is much more the city’s workforce can offer to repair and maintain the Navy’s existing fleet. Their skills are vital.
I call on our local MPs to now act. We must work together to secure the Dockyard’s future in Portsmouth and these important repair jobs in our great city”.
Her Majesty’s Naval Base in the city is the home port to 60% of the Royal Navy’s surface ships. The port is controlled and operated by the Royal Navy in cooperation with BAE Systems Surface Ships (previously known as BVT Surface Fleet).