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Could Mystery Boatman Steer Appledore, Devon Shipyard's Future

31st October 2018
One of the UK's oldest commercial shipyards, Babcock in Appledore, Devon is set to make a decision on the fate of its shipyard next month, with 200 workers facing an uncertain future. Babcock is widely reported to be considering closing the shipyard whose order book is empty following completion of a contract to build a quarter of offshore patrol vessels (OPV's) for the Irish Naval Service. AFLOAT adds the final OPV LÉ George Bernard Shaw (above: docked at the yard earlier this year), made a delivery passage this month across the Celtic Sea to Cork Harbour.   One of the UK's oldest commercial shipyards, Babcock in Appledore, Devon is set to make a decision on the fate of its shipyard next month, with 200 workers facing an uncertain future. Babcock is widely reported to be considering closing the shipyard whose order book is empty following completion of a contract to build a quarter of offshore patrol vessels (OPV's) for the Irish Naval Service. AFLOAT adds the final OPV LÉ George Bernard Shaw (above: docked at the yard earlier this year), made a delivery passage this month across the Celtic Sea to Cork Harbour. Photo: Irish Naval Service - facebook

#Ports&Shipping - A mystery that has got the City's of London's defence and industry experts speculating: just who is behind Boatman Capital Research?

As Sky News reports, Boatman last week published a damning report on Babcock, the engineering services group, which is credited with knocking £130m - or 4% - from the company's stock market valuation.

Its opening paragraph says: "Our investigative team has been researching Babcock for the past six months.

"We have reviewed hundreds of pages of company accounts, government documents and have interviewed numerous sources in the defence sector.

"In our opinion, Babcock has systematically misled investors by burying bad news about its performance.

"We believe that Babcock's senior leadership team - specifically the chairman and chief executive - are not up to the job and their failings will damage the company's future prospects."

For much more on the uncertain future that awaits the West Country shipyard dating to 1855 (click here)

Afloat adds in much more recent times the yard on the River Torridge near Bideford built for the Irish Naval Service, the OPV80/P50 'Roisin' class pair LÉ Roisin in 1999 and two years later LÉ Niamh. This took place when the yard was under ownership of Appledore Shipbuilders, a subsidiary of Langham Industries. 

Other orders for Irish interests included Arklow Shipping, when the facility built a pair of bulk-carriers during the early 1990's. The sisters each 7,182dwt, Arklow Brook and Arklow Bridge were sold in recent years as previously reported in Ports & Shipping news. 

Plus Appledore constructed the current Shannon Ferries operated double-ended car-ferries, Shannon Dolphin in 1995 and larger half-sister Shannon Breeze in 2000.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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