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Friday, November 14, 1997 Published at 12:26 GMT


Special Report

Britannia says goodbye to nation



Britannia left Portsmouth in October to visit eight cities around England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

It is due to arrive back in Portsmouth on November 22 where it will be paid-off on December 11 at a ceremony attended by The Queen and other members of the Royal Family.

Over the last month Britannia has docked at Devonport, Cardiff, Belfast, Liverpool, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Newcastle.

Britannia has served Britain well

The Defence Secretary, George Robertson, announced on October 10, 1997 that Britannia will not be replaced or rebuilt.

Mr Robertson said that the decision was reached after detailed consideration of all the options and widespread consultation across Government and with Buckingham Palace.

He said: "Britannia has served the nation well for over 40 years and earned a special place in many people's affections.

"We made clear that we would not spend public money on a Royal Yacht and I am keeping that promise.

"We in the Ministry of Defence have to justify every penny of the taxpayers' money that we spend and in this case I could not do so, particularly - as the Queen has made clear - since a Yacht is not needed for Royal travel.

"We considered in detail all private finance options, but these would only have been viable with a substantial annual subsidy from public funds."

The Government is now looking at options for Britannia's future, including preservation. A shortlist of proposals is currently being examined.





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