TWO of the Royal Navy’s old class of destroyers have now been sold for scrap, The News can reveal.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a contract to Turkish company Leyal Ship Recycling to break up two of the five Type 42 destroyers currently awaiting disposal.
The former HMS Manchester and Liverpool will be towed from the naval base in Portsmouth soon.
Three other destroyers – Edinburgh, York and Gloucester – remain, and a competition to dispose of these ships will be advertised later this year.
The MoD could not reveal how much Manchester and Liverpool had been sold for as the figures are commercially sensitive.
Bob Mullen, 55, of North End, is the chairman of the Type 42 association and served in HMS Manchester.
He said: ‘It will be a sad day.
‘We have been trying to save these ships and there is hope that HMS Edinburgh might be retained so at least we have one kept.
‘But then somebody has to pay for the upkeep and it’s not easy.
‘It is sad but they are 40 years old and technology moves on.’
During her service, HMS Liverpool was stationed in the Falklands for six months after the conflict with Argentina in 1982 and took part in the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
She hit the headlines in 2011 for her role in the war in Libya where she became the first ship to be fired on since the Falklands.
Manchester participated in the Royal Navy’s Global ’86 tour where a task group flew the flag in a round-the-world cruise.
They were both decommissioned to make way for the Royal Navy’s six new Type 45 destroyers, all of which are based in Portsmouth.
As reported in The News, Leyal is the same firm which broke up the former HMS Ark Royal and Invincible.
A spokeswoman for Defence Equipment and Support, the organisation that handles equipment and services for the MoD, said: ‘Following a competition a contract has been awarded to recycle the two former Type 42 destroyers Manchester and Liverpool.
‘The contract for these ships has been awarded to the Turkish recycling company Leyal Ship Recycling. On current plans, these two ships will be towed from Portsmouth by Leyal later this autumn.
‘The value of the sale is commercially sensitive.
‘A competition to dispose of Edinburgh, Gloucester and York will be advertised by the Disposal Services Authority later this year.’