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Trade Union backs Appledore ferry idea

Trade Union GMB has called on Appledore's owner and South West MPs to ensure that a new Scillonian ferry is built at the shipyard.

In a statement yesterday (Wednesday, November 21st), the Union demanded that "every opportunity that seeks to preserve the 163-year history of Appledore Shipyard" be explored.

It follows the recent suggestion by community group FRIST that building a new ferry to serve the Isles of Scilly could save Appledore, where the current Scillonian was built. Engineering firm Babcock has confirmed the closure of the north Devon facility, which has 200 employees.

Scilly's MP Derek Thomas recently said that he has been "engaged on the idea for some time".

Read the GMB's statement in full below:

GMB, the union for shipbuilders, has today called on Babcock and MPs in the South West to ensure a new Isles of Scilly ferry is built at Appledore.

The union has written to Babcock urging to the company to consider the opportunity in order to preserve the shipyard’s 163-year history.

It believes that with work on the new Type 31e Frigates and Fleet Solid support Ships potentially coming to Appledore, the contract for the new Scilly Isles ferry could be enough to keep the shipyard afloat.

A statement from Friends of Isles of Scilly Transport (FRIST), said a new ship is needed to replace the 41-year-old Scillonian III, which was built at Appledore with the help of a £1million Government loan.

It added the £20m cost of the ship would be similar to estimated redundancy payments and would serve as a long term benefit to both North Devon and the Isles of Scilly.

Ross Murdoch, GMB national officer and chair or CSEU Maritime, said: “GMB demands that every opportunity that seeks to preserve the 163 year history of Appledore Shipyard must be explored.

“The statement from FRIST highlights some real potential in securing work to keep this historical shipyard open.

“Babcock is one of the lead consortiums bidding for the Type 31e Frigate Contract and are involved in a UK bid for the Fleet Solid Support ship contract.

“Surely work to build and provide a new ferry for the Isles of Scilly could provide a much needed solution to preserve jobs in Appledore in readiness for a potential share of the Frigate and/or FSS work.”

>> FRIST: ISSG 'not that interested' in Appledore idea


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