While pleased with the continuation of the contract to recycle the four vessels, Mr Stephenson acknowledges: ‘It is disappointing that, after all the efforts of so many people, the opportunity to bring the additional work, which would have been generated through the other nine vessels, has been lost due to the delay. In addition, the delay resulting from the decisions of Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning committee last October means that we lost the opportunity to recycle the Royal Navy vessel HMS Intrepid.’ It was in 2003 that MARAD awarded Able UK an £11 million (US$ 22 million) contract for the remediation and recycling of 13 redundant vessels from the US Reserve Fleet.
‘Ghost’ fleet saga enters new waters
Peter Stephenson, Chairman of Hartlepoolbased Able UK, insists the company will still purchase the two part-built ships and recycle the four ships which have been berthed at TERRC for approaching four years. In October last year, Able UK’s proposal to develop a world-class ship recycling facility was rejected by local authority planners - but the firm remains committed to the scheme, according to Mr Stephenson. Its appeal against the council decision is expected to commence in September and is likely to take five weeks; if successful, the company aims to start ship recycling operations at TERRC in early 2008.