Tag Archives: HMS Bulwark

Mothballing the UK’s amphibious assault ships would be short-sighted and foolish

Image available with for reuse under the OGL (Open Government License).

At a time when the world is at its least stable, possibly since the end of the Cold War more than 30 years ago, the mothballing of two of the Royal Navy’s most critical assets is under open consideration by the Tories.

The Government are once again considering mothballing – ie. indefinitely laying up – both HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark, two amphibious assault, command and supply ships operated by the Royal Navy. These are the only two ships of this type which are still in operation in the fleet, capable of operating with hundreds of Royal Marines onboard and carrying a well-equipped landing force. Both of the ships would otherwise have service lives well into the 2030s.

These ships are critical for the kind of security environment we are approaching. The effects of climate change will be profound across the globe, and these effects are already springing new threats and conflicts, including in both Syria and Nigeria. Some significant states are critically exposed to security threats around climate change, and some are already perilously close to state collapse. If there has ever been a moment we have needed the kind of ships that allow us to operate in theatres outside of our immediate neighbourhood, it is now.

However, not content with short-termist policymaking applying to the NHS, planning, housing, local government, and virtually every other area of the public realm, something as fundamental as defence and security is now in the crosshairs.

Even if we park the point about security for a second, these ships are mainstays of our international capacity. As a party we firmly believe in our responsibility to offer humanitarian assistance and international aid, which must in turn commit us to resisting the apparent fate of these ships. HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark have been essential for British humanitarian efforts across the globe, with deployments around the world, including to the Mediterranean during the climate-induced civil war in Syria.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 17 Comments

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