HMS Illustrious is to be sold for scrap after schemes to preserve her for the nation as a floating museum fell through.
Scrap dealers are being asked to bid to “recycle” the retired HMS Illustrious. The announcement is expected to end hopes the carrier can be saved. It is understood that three cities submitted proposals to try to preserve the vessel but each fell through.
Following the retirement of her Harriers in 2010, Illustrious operated as one of two Royal Navy helicopter carriers. By 2014 she was the oldest ship in the Royal Navy’s active fleet, having 32 years’ service, and will not be replaced until HMS Queen Elizabeth is in service. It was originally announced that Illustrious would be preserved for the nation, this now seems unlikely.
An MoD spokeswoman said:
“We have done all we can for over two years to find a home for the former HMS Illustrious in the UK, and regrettably no suitable bidder has come forward. While it is a difficult decision, we have announced an open competition for the recycling of HMS Illustrious, while remaining open to heritage options.”
The notice, which can be found here, states:
“The Disposal Services Authority (DSA) is inviting expressions of interest for the sale of the former HMS Illustrious for recycling. She was decommissioned in 2014.
All parties interested in acquiring the vessel should note that a Bank Guarantee of £2 Million will be required by the DSA and will not bereleased until the recycling of the vessel is nearing completion. Viewing of the vessel is due to take place in June (date to be confirmed).”
While this is a shame, it’s understandable as most believe the money required to run the vessel as a museum while maintaining her is simply not there.