Monday, April 11, 2005
The latest warship to be built on the River Clyde has been successfully launched at the second attempt. Bad weather had forced defence company BAE Systems to postpone the launch of RFA Cardigan Bay from the Govan yard on Friday morning. Its naming ceremony went ahead however, with a special religious element to mark the death of Pope John Paul II. Strong winds and low tides kept the vessel on the slipway for an extra 24 hours. About 8,000 people had travelled to the shipyard for the original planned launch of the ship on Friday. Strong northerly winds caused a half-metre drop from expected water levels, which meant it was not safe to launch the vessel, experts said. The new ship's sponsor, Lady Jan Stanhope, wife of Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, still named the ship by breaking a bottle of champagne across the bow. And it finally found its way into the water on Saturday shortly before 1400 BST. Vic Emery, managing director at BAE Systems naval ships, said: "The launch was flawless and a testament to the skills and professionalism of all involved. "This ship, and the others in construction, demonstrate our capabilities as a 21st century business." Cardigan Bay is a 176-metre long landing ship dock (LSD), which will weigh 16,000 tons when fully loaded. It is capable of carrying 500 troops and 32 Challenger tanks. It has also been designed to move troops and supplies in support of amphibious landings. The vessel is a second wave assault ship which has a secondary role in supporting humanitarian missions and disaster relief.
The Cardigan Bay was finally launched on Saturday afternoon RFA Cardigan Bay is readied for her launch