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Last Updated: Friday, 12 September, 2003, 11:37 GMT 12:37 UK
Last ship leaving troubled yard
Appledore Shipyard
The 40m contract could safeguard jobs for the next 18 months
The future of a Devon shipyard looks uncertain once again as the yard's last vessel leaves on Friday

Managers are unable to say anything to reassure hundreds of staff at Appledore Shipyard in north Devon about the future.

For 70 people at Appledore, the departure from the yard of a yacht hull bound for Devonport represents a little more work.

They will be employed in Plymouth to finish off the vessel, the last off the stocks on the Torridge.

But for hundreds more staff the future is far from certain.

The management cannot confirm a hoped-for 40m contract with a Plymouth company to build an offshore energy barge.

And although the yard is in contention for another big contract for several smaller ships, there is unlikely to be a decision until the end of next week.

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