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Carrick becomes an abandoned ship Oldest surviving clipper will now be broken up
[February 04, 2006]

Carrick becomes an abandoned ship Oldest surviving clipper will now be broken up

(The Herald Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)EFFORTS to save the world's oldest surviving clipper and preserve a major piece of maritime history have finally run aground.

An application has now been made to break up the 142-yearold Carrick, whose rusting hulk has lain on a slipway in Irvine harbour since it sank in Glasgow in 1992.

The Scottish Maritime Museum, which owns the craft, had hoped to restore it as a passenger-carrying ship and tourist attraction.

But a feasibility study has concluded that an overhaul of the A-listed vessel, originally called the City of Adelaide, would be impracticable. Even if it were to be turned into a static museum display, the amount of replacement work needed would render it "little more than a reproduction".

Mike Edwards, the Midlands businessman who commissioned the survey in July 2003, said yesterday that he was disappointed by its findings.

He said: "Unfortunately, the consultants' report demonstrates that (restoring the ship) simply cannot be achieved without destroying its integrity as a genuine restored historic ship.

"For example, the ironwork of the original hull is now so weak that it would have to be replaced in its entirety and the same applies to the hull timber.

"In short, there would be so little left . . . that it would be little more than a reproduction and, as I clearly indicated back in 2003, that is not what we have been seeking to achieve."

The study revealed that the cost of converting the Carrick to a static museum exhibit would be around GBP10m, twice the estimate given in 1995.

However, Christopher Mason, chairman of the Clyde Maritime Trust, said this was a reasonable amount, in keeping with the cost of similar restorations of classic nineteenth-century vessels.

He said: "I don't regard GBP10m as an outrageous amount. The City of Adelaide is an important part of Scotland's maritime history. I do worry about the way that vessels are let go. I hope that Scottish ministers and the Westminster government will consider whether, in 20 years' time, we feel happy to have the ship restored to a suitable and adequate condition or have a collection of photographs."

The museum has applied to Historic Scotland for approval to dismantle the Carrick, which was built in 1864 in Sunderland. Its record for sailing the 12,000 miles from Britain to Adelaide, Australia, still stands. The vessel is one of two surviving clippers in the UK. It was based at Broomielaw in Glasgow for 50 years but was towed to Irvine and placed on the Ayrshire Metal Products' slipway in 1991.

Mr Edwards had previously hoped to buy the boat if its restoration proved feasible.

Sam Galbraith, the former health minister who is now chairman of the Scottish Maritime Museum, said the preferable option was for the ship to be "deconstructed" and its parts kept as exhibits.

"By implementing a programme of recorded deconstruction, we would be recording City of Adelaide and ensuring her place in history.

"The old lady would be consigned to maritime history with dignity and purpose and that must be infinitely better than watching her rotting, " he said.

Other parties from Sunderland and Adelaide who were interested in acquiring the ship would be unlikely to generate enough funding, Mr Galbraith added.

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