CONTRACTS worth almost €1.2 billion to build three British naval supply ships could be awarded to Spanish shipbuilders, a councillor in Britain has said.
Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said concerns over the choice of firm to build the vessels had been voiced at meetings between the government and the defence industry.
The decision not to guarantee that the ships would be built in Britain was a “significant problem”, Vernon-Jackson added in comments made to British media.
“These are highly complex ships carrying quantities of munitions so they have to be very powerfully built, and be able to be in a war zone and yet the government are choosing to probably allow them to be built in Spain,” the council leader said.
A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said officials were legally required to tender the contracts internationally.
The ships, which would be used to supply Britain’s new HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales aircraft carriers, are set to sail with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA). A final decision on the contracts is set to be reached in 2020.
Concern over the contract comes as the Appledore shipyard in Devon prepares to close this month after 164 years.