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23 February 2012
GMB CALL FOR PRESSURE TO BE STEPPED UP TO GET FOUR MARS TANKERS FOR ROYAL NAVY BUILT IN UK SHIPYARDS
GMB understand that Korean firm Daewoo is the “preferred bidder” and that the £452m orders have not yet been signed
GMB, the union for shipbuilding workers, made a further comment on the news that Daewoo Shipbuilding and marine engineering is the “preferred bidder” for four Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability (MARS) tankers for the Royal Navy which would be built in Korea as part of a £452m contract. See notes to editors for statement issued yesterday.
Keith Hazlewood, GMB National secretary for shipbuilding, said “GMB has sought and will continue to seek to get these four MARS tankers for the Royal Navy deemed as “warlike” ships. If they are deemed as “warlike” they would need to be built in the UK under previous Government defence procurement rules. The current government has changed these rules.
GMB consider that these ships for the Royal Navy are “warlike”- and like the Type 45 destroyers, the aircraft carriers and future surface combatant ships – the type 26 frigates- they should be built in the UK.
These ships could be put in a war zone to refuel warships and to provide support for amphibious and land forces close to the shore. They need to be equipped with proper defences to protect the Royal Navy personnel on board, the helicopters that operate from them and the ships themselves.
There are gaps in the order books after the carriers and Type 26 frigates are finished. Placing orders for these 4 ships in UK yards are essential to retaining the skills and the capability in the UK. Maintaining capability is a strategic issue. The MOD are risking the UK defence capability by placing this order in Korea.
We now understand that Daewoo is the “preferred bidder” and that the orders have not yet been signed. GMB will be seeking further meetings with MOD on this. GMB is also calling on elected representatives to step up the pressure to get the vessels deemed as what they are as “warlike” and for the policy to be changed back for them to be built in the UK.”