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Last Updated: Friday, 16 April, 2004, 09:00 GMT 10:00 UK
Minister urged to save shipyard
Jaap Kroese
Jaap Kroese took control of Swan Hunter in 1992
A shipyard boss is calling on the government to save his Tyneside yard from possible closure.

Swan Hunter chief executive Jaap Kroese warned that the Wallsend yard could be mothballed when current Ministry of Defence contracts run out in 2006.

The next contract, to build a 30m hospital ship, is due to begin in 2008.

Mr Kroese will urge Industry Minister Jacqui Smith, when she visits the yard on Friday, to help bring forward the contract to fill the two-year gap.

About 1,500 jobs could be lost while the yard stands idle.

Mr Kroese said earlier this month: "We have been told there will not be a decision on the hospital ship and two aircraft carriers until 2008.

"But we are going to run out of work in 2006, which will mean there will be no ships to build in the yard.

'Training lost'

"We have our MP, Nick Brown working on it, and I am also seeing Stephen Byers to make sure the Ministry of Defence brings one of the projects forward."

Mr Kroese is credited with bringing shipbuilding back to the Tyne and Tees, after Swan Hunter went into receivership.

He said: "The worst thing is that we have been training people for years and that is all going to be lost.

"We are working extremely hard not to let this happen and will do our utmost to bring this project forward."

Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram has suggested the 30m Royal Fleet Auxiliary hospital contract is not likely to be placed until well after 2006.

The Defence Procurement Agency confirmed a decision on the vessel was "still at an early stage".





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SEE ALSO:
Shipyard boss issues jobs warning
02 Apr 04  |  Tyne/Wear
Shipyard workers reinstated
17 Sep 03  |  Tyne/Wear
Walkouts over shipyard sackings
15 Sep 03  |  Tyne/Wear


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