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Tuesday, 28 August, 2001, 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK
Ark Royal goes home after refit
HMS Ark Royal
The Ark Royal will sail for Portsmouth on Wednesday
The Royal Navy's biggest aircraft carrier has left Scotland after a 147m refit at the Rosyth dockyard in Fife.

HMS Ark Royal arrived at the Fife yard two years ago for a refurbishment, which will prolong its seaworthiness by an extra 15 years.

The flagship carrier left the yard last month for three weeks of trials in the North Sea before returning to Rosyth for summer shore leave.

It has now been declared fit to return to its base in Portsmouth.

Captain David Snelson
Captain David Snelson: "Immense pride"
HMS Ark Royal is the fifth Royal Navy ship to bear the name and it arrived at Rosyth in May 1999 for the refit by Babcock Engineering Services (BES).

The work, which secured hundreds of jobs at the yard, included strengthening the flight-deck for new Merlin anti-submarine helicopters and equipping her to carry RAF ground attack GR7 jump-jets,

During the busiest period, about 500 people worked on the refit and the work will keep the Ark Royal at sea until the expected arrival of a new generation of super-carriers.

'Forged links'

Commanding officer, Captain David Snelson, said: "I feel immense pride to be taking Ark Royal to sea following this successful refit.

"The standard of work of our partners BES has been of the highest order and we are all naturally very sad to be leaving Scotland after making it our temporary home for more than two years.

"We have been moved by the warmth of everyone we have met and with whom we have forged links during that period.

"Our pride is tinged with sadness at having to leave our friends."

Ark Royal's sister ship, HMS Invincible, recently arrived at Rosyth for her shorter 50m refit programme.

See also:

13 Jul 01 | Scotland
Ark Royal sets sail after refit
11 Jul 01 | Business
Union showdown with shipyard bosses
30 Aug 01 | Scotland
New start for revamped navy ship
06 Jun 01 | Scotland
Rosyth clinches carrier contract
30 Mar 01 | Scotland
Shipyard gets 75m contract boost
16 Feb 01 | Scotland
Rosyth bosses dismiss union fears
15 Feb 01 | Scotland
War of words over naval dockyard
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