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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 August, 2003, 11:37 GMT 12:37 UK
Attack on ship rescue 'folly'
Newport Ship
The ship was found in the riverbanks of the River Usk
The decision not to save sections of a medieval ship found in south Wales has been described as "folly" by an AM.

William Graham, the AM for south east Wales, spoke out after it was revealed that parts of the Tudor warship, the Mary Rose, have been found this week - 20 years after the vessel was raised.

He said that the decision by Newport Council not to save parts of a 15th Century vessel found during the construction of a new arts centre in the city in June 2002 has "deprived" the city.

But the council has continued to defend their decision not to raise the stern of the boat due to safety concerns.

"The news that over 20 years after the Mary Rose was raised marine archaeologists have discovered a piece of wood they believe is the front section of the vessel's keel, illustrates the folly of the city council not to preserve the medieval ship," said Mr Graham.

"It appears as though the council were more concerned about completing the new arts centre.

"At the time it seemed to be absolutely incredible that Newport could allow itself to be deprived of what would be the centrepiece of a thriving tourist industry yet this is what happened.

Charles Ferris
Charles Ferris hopes that the remains of the ship will one day be saved

"Just weeks after the council agreed to proceed with the construction of the arts centre, we have news that the site of discovery of the Mary Rose is still revealing its treasures almost a quarter of a century after it was raised from the sea," he added.

Charles Ferris, from the Save Our Ship campaign, agreed.

"I am delighted about the new discovery of the Mary Rose but it is tinged with sadness that the stern and the starboard quarter of the Newport ship won't be saved," he said.

"It is even more poignant that the Mary Rose Trust have been given responsibility for the conservation of our ship.

"We can only pray that fate will have a hand in allowing our ship to be reunited with its missing pieces sometime in the future," he added.

Dangerous

But Newport Council defended its decision not to raise the sections.

"We were disappointed that the expert advice we were given was that further investigations into the stern of the ship and its recovery had to be ruled out," said a spokeswoman.

"There were a combination of factors that made the investigations too dangerous to attempt."

Safety fears about working near a Victorian dock wall, and the depths to which archaeologists would have to work in a restricted space were among those factors.


SEE ALSO:
In pictures: New Mary Rose find
18 Aug 03  |  Photo Gallery
Mary Rose divers' 'exciting' find
18 Aug 03  |  Hampshire/Dorset
New discovery at Mary Rose site
17 Aug 03  |  Hampshire/Dorset
Medieval ship: conservation plans
16 Jun 03  |  South East Wales
Final fears for ship rescue
22 Apr 03  |  Wales


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