WORKERS, FEBRUARY 2004 ISSUE
The launch of Queen Mary 2, French built, at a cost of over £550 million reflects the parlous state of this island's shipbuilding industry. The widest, tallest, longest passenger liner ever built, with 1310 cabins, offers unprecedented luxury with cruising costs ranging from £999 to £28,800 why was the QM2 built in France? Because there is no longer the capacity, skills or ship building facilities available in Britain to build a ship of this size or complexity.
Britain's shipbuilding and repair industries of commercial and regular seagoing trading fleet generated £1.6 billion in 2003, a drop of nearly 25% on 2002. Yet Britain's luxury leisure ship and yacht building industries generated £1.8 billion in sales during 2003. There are now over 30,000 people employed in building luxury yachts and boats. So an island without a shipbuilding industry? Not quite. Rather a shipbuilding industry geared to the parasites of the world rather than Britain's trade, commerce or fishing needs.