by Jason Moore

First the new Queen Mary was built in France and now an order for four Royal Navy support ships has gone to South Korea. The sad thing about it, is that no British shipbuilding firm submitted a final bid for the contract. The Ministry of Defence had no option but to award the multi-million pound order to South Korea. This says alot about Britain´s industrial decline and it doesn´t say too much about Britain´s industry either. Britain does have a small number of shipbuilders who are kept going thanks to lucrative contracts from the Ministry of Defence. Up until now all British Navy vessels had to be built in Britain. At the moment British shipbuilders are heavily involved in constructing the two new giant aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy and also the Type 45 destroyers. It appears that building four tankers for the Royal Navy was not lucrative enough for them. This is a sad state of affairs especially for a nation which once prided itself on its ship-building skills. On this occasion the government can´t be blamed because they had no option. It must also be said that the tankers will be delivered on time and on budget something which is sadly missing in other defence contracts awarded to British firms. The Ministry of Defence has to award contracts to British industry eventhough in most cases it knows that British is not always best. The tanker deal could be a real watershed for British industry. What next, warships being built abroad? Watch this space.


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