THREE of the Royal Navy’s former destroyers have been put up for sale as plans to keep one of them as a museum ship look dead in the water.
Ex-HMS Edinburgh, York and Gloucester have been laid up in Portsmouth naval base since they were decommissioned from 2011 onwards.
Naval veterans with a fondness for the Type 42 destroyers had hoped Edinburgh could be preserved in Scotland as a museum ship.
But Edinburgh’s council decided preserving it would be too expensive – with the costs potentially running into millions of pounds.
Campaigners behind the bid to keep Edinburgh afloat say they will now look into crowdfunding options.
Paul Gibb, founder of Save HMS Edinburgh, said: ‘It’s disappointing as we are now back to where we started a year and a half ago.
‘It was always a tall order. But my understanding was the navy did not want the last Type 42 destroyer to be scrapped.’
Mr Gibb, who served on the ship between 1991 and 1994, intends to look at the figures and see whether it is possible to raise the money through crowdfunding.
He added: ‘There is a huge amount of support for this, but we won’t take it forward unless we are 100 per cent sure we can make it work.’
Artefacts from Edinburgh are being lined up for inclusion in a museum in Leith.
The destroyer had been intended as a tourist attraction on the waterfront, but a study found it would cost £10m to buy and restore the ship and around £4.87m per year to run it.
The report, from Pricewaterhouse Coopers commissioned by Edinburgh’s city council, found the attraction would only bank £1.3m in annual revenue.
The ship’s bell and bronze plaques from the deck could be among the items handed over to be preserved at the proposed Leith Museum.
The Ministry of Defence is now considering expressions of interest from organisations wanting to buy any of the three destroyers for reuse or recycling.
Two other destroyers, Manchester and Liverpool, have already been sold for scrap.