British Falklands warship towed away for scrap

By on Friday, August 22nd, 2014

The British warship on which Argentina formally surrendered the island of South Georgia during the 1982 Falklands War began its final journey on Wednesday before being scrapped.

HMS Plymouth could not be saved despite years of attempts to find a permanent home for the frigate.

The ship, which entered naval service in 1961, was decommissioned in 1988.

Peel Ports, which owns the dock where the frigate has languished rusting for years, said they had no “practical choice” other than to scrap the vessel.

Under tow, it sailed out of Birkenhead, northwest England on Wednesday, past the familiar landmarks of Liverpool on the other side of the River Mersey estuary. Its destination is not known.

The ship was one of the first to arrive in the South Atlantic Ocean after Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, both British possessions.

The frigate provided gunfire support as British forces retook the island of South Georgia.

Lieutenant Commander Alfredo Astiz, who was in charge of the Argentinian garrison, signed the surrender document in HMS Plymouth’s wardroom.

Astiz was later sentenced to life in prison for torture, murder and rights abuses, in 2011.

Acting as an escort providing cover, the ship then became the first to enter San Carlos Water, where British forces landed on East Falkland, where it was attacked and hit by Argentinian fighter jets.

The Historic Warships Preservation Trust rented a berth for the ship in 1990 but when it went into liquidation in 2006, it became, by default, the responsibility of Peel Ports.

The city of Plymouth tried to buy the ship in 2007 but could not find a suitable berth.

“We are very sympathetic to the historical significance of the vessel but no public or private body has come forward with a feasible plan to maintain, restore or remove her during the past seven years,” Peel Ports said in a statement.

“The group feels, reluctantly, we have no practical choice but to dispose of her responsibly.”

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