UK's National Flagship Program Suspended

Harland and Wolff Publicity
Harland & Wolff's proposed design

Published Nov 7, 2022 1:31 PM by The Maritime Executive

[By: Harland & Wolff]

Harland & Wolff notes the announcement from the Ministry of Defence and Defence Equipment & Support that the design procurement process for the new National Flagship has been suspended.

A design for the ship submitted by Harland & Wolff was a finalist in the competition from a wide industry field, which was originally due to conclude earlier this year.

John Wood, chief executive of Harland & Wolff, said: “We are proud that the design our team produced was one of the two finalists in a prestigious programme, which would have been a global showcase of the very best of British shipbuilding and engineering and is testament to the skills that exist within Harland & Wolff and our partners.

“The National Flagship programme would have contained cutting-edge design and technology to showcase the UK’s shipbuilding heritage, as well as the outstanding innovation we have in this country which is right now being built into current and future vessels.

“We are certain that had the National Flagship gone ahead, the vessel would have returned many multiples of her build cost to the UK economy over many decades, acting as an international demonstration of the creativity and engineering talent the UK has to offer.

“Advances planned for the programme were not just limited to the vessel itself. We had expected to use the National Flagship as the launch platform for green shipbuilding, demonstrating how industry can dramatically reduce its environmental footprint.

“Obviously the decision to suspend is disappointing, but we understand the rationale for doing so, considering the current macro-economic environment and the ongoing situation in Ukraine.

“We recognise that the Government, and the Ministry of Defence in particular, must prioritise their budgets and focus on the most pressing and strategically vital programmes which ensure the defence and security of the nation.

“Given the global trade that can be driven to the UK by a vessel like this we do expect that a vessel of this type - either government or privately owned - will come back to the table in the future and we remain ready to assist at that time.”

Harland & Wolff, which operates shipbuilding and marine engineering facilities at Belfast, Appledore, Methil, and Arnish, employs around 1,000 people across the four sites.  It is focused on five main sectors: Energy, Defence, Cruise & Ferry, Commercial, and Renewables.

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