Asian shipbuilders bid on UK Navy contract

A Royal Navy solid support ship
A Royal Navy solid support ship

The Guardian reports that a contract to build a new fleet solid of support ships for the UK Royal Navy could go to an international shipyard.

Japan Marine United and Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding are amongst the companies interested in the £1 billion (US$1.3 billion) contract.

Though laws are in place that prevent warships being built for the Royal Navy outside of the UK for national security reasons, the vessels will not technically be classed as warships despite carrying explosives and ammunitions.

The GMB trade union argues that foreign competitors, particularly Japanese shipbuilders, are subsidised, given them an unfair advantage over local shipyards.

“This news will cause real concern for shipbuilding workers who already face an uncertain future as the aircraft carrier programme winds down,” GMB national officer Ross Murdoch told The Guardian.

The news comes as the Royal Navy’s Type 31 frigate program was suspended due to a lack of interested shipbuilders due to the £250 million per vessel price cap.

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