Auction Of Portsmouth Warship Extended

13 June 2011, 12:07 | Updated: 13 June 2011, 12:13

The deadline for the sale of the Royal Navy's former flagship, Portsmouth based HMS Ark Royal, has been extended because of the amount of interest from potential buyers.

Bidders for the aircraft carrier, which has been advertised on the MoD auction website since March, originally had until today to submit their tenders.

But the Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) agency, which is responsible for equipping the country's armed forces, has now extended the deadline until July 6.

A DE&S spokesman said: "The tender closing date has been extended owing to the amount of interest in the ship from potential buyers."

Although the Ark Royal, which is currently at Portsmouth Naval Base, could be sold for its scrap metal, other proposals for it include a commercial heliport in London as well as a base for special forces to provide security at next year's Olympic Games, or turning it into a nightclub and school in China.

Other reported plans for the ship include a casino in Hong Kong or to sink it as a dive wreck off the South Coast.

The sale of Ark Royal follows that of its sister ship, Portsmouth based, HMS Invincible which was towed away to a scrapyard in Turkey after being sold on the same internet site.

The website is run by the DE&S arm of the MoD which has a budget of £14 billion to equip the UK's armed forces.