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Campaigners Campaigners race against race against time to keep time to keep frigate on frigate on the Mersey; Historic HMS Plymouth is due to set sail for Turkey to be recycled.

Byline: JOE THOMAS ECHO Reporter joe.thomas@trinitymirror.com joe_thomas18 @

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save historic HMS Plymouth have raised PS5,000 to fund legal action to prevent the frigate from leaving the Mersey.

Protesters were appealing for the money so they could apply to have the ship "arrested" and halt its departure to Turkey, where it will be recycled.

Peel Ports has confirmed the ship will be towed away by the end of this month, claiming it is sympathetic to its history but has no "practical choice" other than to dispose of her.

The HMS Plymouth Trust is fighting to save the boat - on which Argentinian forces surrendered to end the Falklands War - and director Laurence Sharpe-Stevens called on supporters for immediate help.

He said PS5,000 was needed to cover initial legal fees for a barrister willing to go to the Admiralty court and "have the ship arrested and to apply for ownership of it".

Writing on the Save HMS Plymouth (Open to All) Facebook page, Mr Sharpe-Stevens told supporters: "I am appealing to all of you out there to give what you can... if we cannot do this, it is goodbye to her."

Join the conversation on our Facebook page face book. com/poolecho " The target was reached in just 18 hours, with the final donation coming from UKIP

Protesters have been keeping watch on the vessel, based in Vittoria Dock, since Friday - when Peel announced it would leave this month.

The Trust disputes the ownership of HMS Plymouth, but a spokesman for Peel Ports Group said: "The Historic Warships Preservation Trust rented a berth for HMS Plymouth in 1990 within the East Float, Birkenhead, from the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company but when the Trust went into liquidation in 2006, HMS Plymouth became, by default, the legal responsibility of Peel Ports.

"We understand Plymouth city council attempted to acquire the vessel and display her in the city's docks in 2007, but this was abandoned when no suit-able berth could be found.

"We are very sympathetic to the historical significance of the vessel but no public or private body has come forward with a feasible plan to maintain, restore or remove her during the past seven years.

"We have no expertise in the preservation and restoration of historic ships and given the fact that she is deteriorating further at berth, the group feels, reluctantly, we have no practical choice but to dispose of her responsibly.

"She will therefore leave Birkenhead Docks this month and be recycled in accordance with statutory and regulatory permits associated with her transit and recycling programme."

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HMS Plymouth is | |currently docked in Birkenhead

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 20, 2014
Words:442
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