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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 June, 2005, 10:22 GMT 11:22 UK
Call for Cardiff home for warship
Picture of HMS Cardiff
HMS Cardiff will be decommissioned in July
Former Navy servicemen in Cardiff have called for a warship bearing the city's name to be given a permanent home in the capital as a tourist attraction.

HMS Cardiff will be decommissioned next month after a 26-year career in which it saw service in the Falklands War.

The vessel has visited Cardiff in the past for thousands of tourists and schoolchildren to take on-board tours.

The Cardiff branch of the Royal Naval Association is now calling for the destroyer to be brought to the city.

Commissioned in 1979, HMS Cardiff is the oldest of its class of air defence destroyers.

'Rightful home'

It was announced last year that the vessel would be decommissioned as part of modernisation plans.

Gordon Phillips, president of the Cardiff branch of the Royal Naval Association, said the capital would be the natural home for the retired ship.

The Royal Yacht Britannia
The Royal Yacht Britannia is permanently moored in Edinburgh

Mr Phillips said: "The last ship named Cardiff was in the First World War and we hadn't had a Cardiff for 75 years until this one.

"This one is likely to be the last one, it is named after out capital city and I think the rightful home for it should be here in Cardiff.

"The next lot coming in will be named after the Daring class (of warships), so it will be Delight, Diana, Defender, so it will be a long time before we see a Cardiff again.

"The MoD has three options - option one is to sell it to another navy, option two is to come to a place like us or option three is to scrap it.

"I think it would be a great shame if it was scrapped for the people of Wales."

The Ministry of Defence said it was too early to speculate on the future of HMS Cardiff after the destroyer is decommissioned in a ceremony in Portsmouth on 14 July.

'Waterfront regeneration'

One ship which has become a major tourist attraction is the Royal Yacht Britannia, which has been permanently moored on the Leith waterfront in Edinburgh.

Its Chief Executive, Bob Downie, told BBC Radio Wales the attraction had been a success.

"We average 300,000 visitors a year, we are commercially self-funding and we have a very successful corporate events business," he said.

"I think the success of Britannia has been because it's been integrated into the regeneration of Edinburgh's waterfront.

"I would encourage those in Cardiff to work closely with the local authorities to work with them to make sure it's part of a wider regeneration."

HMS Cardiff, which is based in Portsmouth, saw front line action in the Falklands, Gulf and Adriatic.

The destroyer returned from its final overseas deployment in the Mediterranean on 16 June.

It ended its career on Tuesday by taking part in the international fleet review off Portsmouth which formed the centrepiece of events to mark the anniversary of the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar.


SEE ALSO:
20,000 posts go in defence cuts
21 Jul 04 |  UK Politics
Britannia rules tourism waves
20 Oct 03 |  Scotland
Warship tour for school children
07 Jul 03 |  South East Wales
In pictures: HMS Cardiff
07 Jul 03 |  Photo Gallery


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