Babcock announces decision to close Appledore shipyard

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UK-based engineering services company Babcock on Thursday announced its decision to exit operations at its Appledore facility in Devon, ending its site lease in March 2019.

The decision comes after the company failed to secure a contract for the construction of a vessel for the Armed Forces of Malta as the shipyard completed work on four Irish Navy offshore patrol vessels.

“Babcock’s focus is now firmly on its workforce and its determination to protect their employment within the business,” the company said. “To that end, the company will offer relocation opportunities for all 199 Appledore employees at other Babcock facilities, 140 of whom are already on short-term redeployment to its Devonport operations.”

Appledore is closing despite a petition launched by GMB trade union to save the shipyard from closure.

“Appledore is a source of great pride for the community producing four high quality offshore patrol vessels for the Irish Naval Service and many sections for both the HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, including the bulbous bows, anchor pockets and flight decks. To see a successful shipyard turn profit year-on-year and then struggle to secure work for this committed workforce is sickening,” the competition call said.

Babcock said it would now engage in a consultation period, working closely with its employees and their trade unions representatives during this difficult time.

In 2017/18 Appledore generated around £24 million of the Group’s total underlying revenue of £5.4 billion.

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