Boatnotes Britain is to get a new ocean-going gin palace to schmooze VIPs, negotiate trade deals and fly the flag for UK Plc, the government confirmed at the weekend.
The replacement for HMY Britannia – which was decommissioned in 1997 - is being hailed as a standard-bearer for British trade, able to host "high-level trade negotiations and trade shows while sailing all over the world promoting British interests."
Explaining how the new ship might fit into a global post-Brexit sales push, officials at Number 10 explained: “A typical six-month itinerary for the flagship might include docking at a port in a country where a British Prime Ministerial visit is taking place to accommodate parallel discussions between British and local businesses, hosting trade fairs to sell British products to an emerging market and providing the venue for an international ministerial summit or major trade negotiations between the UK and another government.”
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Construction of the ship – which is hoped will be built in the UK - could begin next year once the tendering process for design and construction is complete.
As part of the brief officials said the vessel should reflect "British design expertise and the latest innovations in green technology" as part of wider plans to "showcase the best of British engineering around the world."
However, even before the ink was dry on the press announcement, the scuttlebutt about the new yacht suggests things may not be all plain sailing with critics pointing out that the money would be better spent elsewhere.
The new ship – which has yet to be named – is expected to enter service within the next four years.
Although the headline figure for the project has been trailed at £200m, the actual costs for the construction and operation of the ship won’t be confirmed until the completion of a competitive tendering process. ®