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Last Updated: Friday, 9 April, 2004, 19:09 GMT 20:09 UK
Vessel runs into troubled waters
Mounts Bay afloat
The Mounts Bay was launched onto Glasgow's River Clyde
A 16,000-tonne Royal Navy ship hit troubled waters after its launch on the River Clyde.

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary Mounts Bay grazed the quayside of the north bank of the Glasgow river seconds after gliding into the water on Friday.

The impact left a car-sized dent in the vessel and was damaged just above the waterline.

Thousands had gathered along the banks to witness the launch of the 750th ship from BAE Systems Govan yard.

Sudden impact

Shipbuilders BAE Systems said: "During the launch the ship came into contact with the opposite bank.

"It suffered some very superficial damage to the hull plate but this is not anticipated to have any implications for the (landing ship) programme."

Mounts Bay slid down the slipway into the water just after 1600 BST after taking 2,300 workers just over two years to build her.

She will now be used to land tanks and trucks and other heavy equipment in battle zones or at scenes of natural disaster.

It is one of four similar ships planned for the Royal Navy.

The Govan yard will now go on to build a second one over the next year.

BAE's yards at Govan and Scotstoun are also building three patrol vessels for the government of Brunei and starting work on the first of six Type 45 Destroyers for the Royal Navy.

'First of many'

Frank Fallon, BAE Systems naval ships programme director for Mounts Bay, said the launch of the ship was "special".

Mr Fallon said: "The launch of a ship like this is always a very noteworthy occasion but it is something particularly special in Glasgow.

"The city has such a long and proud tradition of shipbuilding that many people who come along have parents, grandparents, brothers or sisters who worked in the yards over the years."

He added: "Shipbuilding has always been very important to the city. We brought in over 100 apprentices to the business last year and the majority of them come from the areas surrounding the yards.

"They will ensure that this will be the first of many launches by BAE Systems naval ships in the coming years".

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