5 June 2024






2 mins

11 years ago also on a Wednesday the last voyage of the light aircraft carrier and former flagship of the Royal Navy HMS ARK ROYAL R 07 was photographed from the air by MALTA SHIP PHOTOS (MSPAP) while being towed by the Greek anchor handing tug/supply vessel CHRISTOS XXIII while underway to Leyal Ship Recycling at Aliaga in Turkey.

Known as THE MIGHTY ARK, she was the fifth Royal Navy ship to bore the name of the 1587 flagship that defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588. Originally intended to be named INDOMITABLE to match the rest of the class, this was changed due to the public reaction to the loss of the ARK ROYAL name after the scrapping of the previous aircraft carrier in 1980, after 30 years’ service.

Slightly larger than her sister ships, and with a steeper ski-jump ramp, ARK ROYAL carried the STOVL (short take off and vertical landing) Harrier jump jet aircraft, as well as various helicopters. With a crew complement of over 1,000 sailors and aviators, she saw active service in the 90s Bosnian War and the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.

Originally due to be retired in 2016, HMS ARK ROYAL R 07  was instead decommissioned on Friday 11th March 2011, as part of the Navy restructuring portion of the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review. Following her decommissioning, HMS ALBION L 14 replaced her as the Royal Navy flagship.

During June 2012, the Ministry Of Defence (MOD) confirmed it had not reached a decision on the sale of the ship, following the submission of bids nearly a year previously but 3 months later it was confirmed that the ship had been sold to Leyal Ship Recycling in Turkey for scrapping, for the sum of £2.9m.

She left HMNB Portsmouth, UK for the last time on Monday 20th May 2013 towed by the Norwegian built offshore ship CHRISTOS XXIII that was built in 1975 as SEAWAY HAWK.

Convoy arrived in Turkey on Monday 10th June, 2013.



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