Online Bids For HMS Invincible

The MoD's confirmed that several bids have been received for a Royal Navy aircraft carrier which was put up for sale on a Government version of the eBay auction website.

HMS Invincible was decommissioned in 2005, 28 years after it was launched by the Queen.

The Portsmouth-based ship, which served in the Falklands War, was put into a state of "low level of readiness'' until last year when it was put on sale through the MoD's Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) arm.

The advert on the website, which expired yesterday, stated:

"HMS Invincible is for sale by tender.

"Laid down in 1973 at Vickers Shipbuilding, Barrow-in-Furness, she was completed in 1980.

"She is currently stable for tow, subject to buyer confirmation.''

The carrier, which has had its engines and other parts salvaged, is expected to be sold for scrap metal.

The website states that it has a metal weight of 10,000 tonnes and experts have estimated the ship could sell for about #2 million.

An MoD spokesman said:

"We are considering a number of bids but we cannot say any more until there has been a full consideration.

"We will announce a preferred bidder subject to them meeting required terms and conditions.

"The ship has been substantially stripped down for spares and has been in storage for some time.''

There has been a campaign for the ship to be saved as a museum to shipbuilding in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, where it was built but the MoD spokesman said it was most likely to be sold for scrap.

He said:

"It doesn't have any engines so its most likely fate will be recycling, it would be very surprising if that wasn't the case.''

As well as serving in the Falklands with the Duke of York on board, the 689ft (210m) ship served in the Adriatic and in Bosnia in 1995.

In 1998 and 1999, its Sea Harriers flew air combat patrols to enforce the no-fly zone over southern Iraq and then went on to provide aid support in the Balkans.