Boost for bid to save Falklands flagship HMS Hermes from the scrapyard after failed auction

A FORMER British warship that failed to sell at auction for scrap has been thrown a lifeline by prime minister Boris Johnson, campaigners believe.

Sunday, 5th January 2020, 10:28 am
Updated Sunday, 5th January 2020, 3:38 pm

No buyers went for the Falklands flagship and aircraft carrier HMS Hermes after it was put up for action online last month.

Now Tory MEP David Campbell Bannerman has told the Sunday Express he believes Mr Johnson intervened with the Indian government, who own the ship, now called INS Viraat.

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The decommissioned INS Viraat, formerly HMS Hermes, pictured in 2016 when she was visited by Type 45 destroyer HMS Defender's crew. Picture: L(Phot) Des Wade

The ship was sold to India in 1987 and decommissioned for the nation's navy in 2017.

Mr Campbell Bannerman, who wrote to Mr Johnson before the auction took place, told the Sunday newspaper: 'We believe Boris intervened but haven't been able to have it confirmed.

'It is good news though that for whatever reason HMS Hermes can still be saved.

'We can raise more money from private backers than the Indian government would receive for turning it into scrap. It is very important that we keep some of our naval heritage and history for future generations to see.'

Campaigners want the ship to be berthed in Liverpool to preserved heritage. Initial plans were to have her in London near HMS Belfast.

They hope to buy the ship for £10m, including £5m to buy her from India, the newspaper reported.

Its report said Downing Street refused to comment on whether Mr Johnson raised the issue in a phone call with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi shortly after the Conservative election win.