Technical fault cancels Destroyer Duncan departure

The destroyer Duncan was constructed at the Scotstoun yard. Picture: Ian Arthur/Contributed
The destroyer Duncan was constructed at the Scotstoun yard. Picture: Ian Arthur/Contributed
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A newly-built warship due to leave a shipyard on the River Clyde today has had its sailing cancelled over a technical fault.

The Type 45 Destroyer Duncan was due to leave BAE System’s Scotstoun yard in Glasgow and journey to Portsmouth Naval Base, where it would be officially commissioned, marking the completion of a six ship contract with the Ministry of Defence.

The HMS Duncan, pictured at the Glasgow yard at which it was built. Picture: Royal Navy

The HMS Duncan, pictured at the Glasgow yard at which it was built. Picture: Royal Navy

However, a media event for the departure - due to be attended by Glasgow Council leader Gordon Matheson - was cancelled this morning because of a technical issue, delaying the vessel’s departure.

A BAE Systems spokesperson suggested that details of a rescheduled departure would be released in the near future.

‘Threat’

Labour has suggested that future Navy contracts would be threatened by independence.

Defence spokesman Jim Murphy MP said: “Duncan is the latest formidable ship from a river that has built the world’s ships for so many years.

“Times have changed and much of that work now takes place in cheaper yards in Asia. We want to keep the Clyde as a working river and that will rely on winning future Royal Naval orders.

“The big threat to the Clyde is 2014 and the SNP plans for independence.

“The Royal Navy doesn’t build complex warships in foreign shipyards. If Scotland was to leave the UK we would also be leaving the Royal Navy. Scotland would be a foreign country to the Royal Navy and thousands of the Clyde’s shipbuilding jobs would be lost.”

‘Rank hypocrisy’

However, the SNP objected to such claims. A spokesman for the party said: “This is rank hypocrisy from the Labour Party, that spent its years in office running Scotland’s defence forces down and destroying 11,000 defence jobs in Scotland over the last decade.

“It is not the London government that makes Scotland’s yards successful, it is the second-to-none Scottish skills base and technical expertise that brings orders to the yards from Westminster and around the world, and that will continue after independence.

“In reality, and in all circumstances, Scottish yards will secure orders on the basis of their skills and formidable record of delivery. Indeed Scottish shipyards already build ships for countries outside the UK, and the London government already sources ships from other countries.

“In reality, shipbuilders across Europe, including in Scotland, regularly get orders from other countries. France makes ships for Russia, and the UK has made frigates for Malaysia.”