RUMOURS that HMS Illustrious is due be sent to a Turkish shipping yard to be scrapped have been quashed by the Ministry of Defence.
Speculation about the aging aircraft carrier’s future erupted on social media, with a number of people claiming the former flagship was destined for the scrapheap later this year.
But the MoD says the claims are categorically untrue and that there are no such plans in the pipeline.
‘Disposal options for the sale of the former HMS Illustrious are being considered by the Disposal Services Authority and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time,’ added an MoD spokeswoman.
The rumours were sparked by Steve Hale, of Portsmouth, a Falklands veteran, who was in the Royal Navy for 21 years.
Mr Hale, who served aboard Illustrious, said he had been informed by a source at Turkish shipping company Leyal Gemi Söküm Ltd the ship was due to arrive at the firm’s recycling facility this year.
At this stage it’s just a rumour and that’s all it is.David Rogers, vice-chairman of HMS Illustrious Association
It comes after a number of failed bids to save the vessel as a heritage asset for the UK.
Mr Hale, 53, added: ‘We’ve all been expecting Illustrious to go because of the length of time it’s taken to secure the bids.’
However, a high-ranking Royal Navy source told The News there were no plans to scrap the iconic ship in the near future.
The officer explained there were still plenty of options left on the table for bidders to take over the running of the ship, which is at Portsmouth Naval Base.
Likewise, David Rogers, the vice-chairman of the HMS Illustrious Association, said he had been reliably informed that the MoD had not been in contact with any Turkish shipping yard about Lusty.
‘At this stage it’s just a rumour and that’s all it is,’ added Mr Rogers.
The 22,000-tonne ship was commissioned in 1982 and decommissioned in 2014.
Portsmouth City Council’s bid to turn her into a convention centre was rejected later that year.