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Tyne-built ships which sailed to stardom; in association with RBS.

IN 2006 260 people lost their jobs when the last ship to be built on the Tyne was towed away to be finished on the River Clyde.

The Ministry of Defence took the decision to sever its contract with Swan Hunter over the 16,500-tonne Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel the Lyme Bay when Swan's were late in completing the work.

It brought to an end a proud 150-year shipbuilding history on the Tyne. In that time some of the world's finest ships had been built by the Swan Hunter yards which at their peak employed thousands of people.

MAURETANIA RMS Mauretania was the most famous ship ever to be built at Swan Hunter.

She was launched on September 20, 1906, and was the fastest ship in the world, holding the Blue Riband for the quickest crossing of the Atlantic for a record 22 years. The vessel served as a troop ship and hospital ship during the First World War.

The great passenger liner was eventually retired, her furnishings were sold at auction - some of which can now be found in Tyneside pubs - and in July 1935, the Mauretania headed for a breaker's yard at Rosyth.

CARPATHIA THE wreck of one of the most famous of the Swan's-built ships lies off the Cornish coast.

The Carpathia, laid down at Swan Hunter's in 1901, sailed into worldwide fame when she picked up the 705 survivors from the Titanic when she sank in 1912.

But Carpathia joined the Titanic on the seabed when she was torpedoed in 1918 by the German submarine U55. Carpathia now lies in 600ft of water 185 miles west of Land's End.

ESSO NORTHUMBRIA DWARFING houses in nearby streets, Esso Northumbria was launched from Swan Hunter's on May 2, 1969. At 253,000 tons, she was the largest ship ever built in Britain at the time and the first in a succession of giant supertankers to be built at the Wallsend Yard.

Nicknamed Big Geordie, Esso Northumbria was scrapped in Koashung, Taiwan, in the early 80s.

HMS ARK ROYAL The aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal was launched at Swan's on June 20, 1981, by the Queen Mother. Ark Royal took part in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and in April, 2004, her life was extended with a refit. She is expected to remain in service until 2015.

CAPTION(S):

CALLING IN: The aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal on a courtesy visit to the Tyne where she was built; BORN ON RIVER: Left: supertanker Esso Northumbria under construction. Above, passenger liner Mauretania in cruise livery during her last years.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 13, 2008
Words:429
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