Great Britain’s only working aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious will be scrapped for around £2 million by a Turkish ship recycling company following failed efforts to keep the vessel in the UK, according to a statement from the Ministry of Defence.
The ship was previously deployed to stabilise the aftermath of the first Gulf War and also deliver aid to the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the region, before being decommissioned in 2014.
In 2013 the MOD launched a competition to attract bids with the hopes of keeping part or all of the ship in the Uk for “heritage purposes”.
However, despite receiving numerous bids, none were considered viable meaning the the light carrier which travelled 900,000 nautical is set to be sold to Turkish company LEYAL Ship Recycling Ltd.
Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin said the ministry had done all they could over the past two years to retain HMS illustrious in the UK but that all options have been exhausted.
She added: “It is with a sense of pride for her and her crews’ achievements that we say goodbye to the ship, and we look forward to the arrival in Portsmouth of the UK’s next generation of aircraft carriers.”
Former Commanding Officer on HMS Illustrious Mike Utley said the ship provided a world-class service to the Royal Navy for over three decades.
He added: “We will bid her farewell with a heavy heart but in the knowledge that everything has been done to find a use for her.”
“As the former aircraft carrier gets ready to leave Portsmouth, so we can look to the future and the arrival of the new Queen Elizabeth Class carriers, which will ensure that the Royal Navy continues to be a pre-eminent maritime power in the modern world.”