The Appledore shipyard in Devon is to be closed in March by its owners, the UK-based engineering company Babcock International.
It said it took the decision to end its lease of the site after it failed to secure a contract for the construction of a vessel for the Malta Armed Forces.
Announcing the news in November, Babcock said: “We will offer relocation opportunities for all 199 Appledore employees at other of our facilities, 140 are already on short-term redeployment at our Devonport operations.”
The yard dates from 1855. In 1913, the business became P K Harris & Sons Ltd, having been bought from Cook & Sons. The shallow bar at Barnstable restricted the size of ship that could be built at the shipyard which became famous for building tugs and other small vessels. In 1963, P K Harris & Sons announced that shipbuilding was to end. Between 1955 and 1964, the shipyard had built 60 vessels, including 11 for overseas owners. Of the 60, 46 were tugs.
In January, 1964, the company was taken over by Appledore Shipbuilders Ltd, a London-based group which included the shipping firm Court Line. The yard continued to build smaller vessels, again mainly tugs.
In 1969-70, a new covered shipbuilding hall which could build two ships side by side was constructed at the yard, In 1974, the Court Line collapsed and the Appledore yard was taken over by the Labour Government and became part of British Shipbuilders in July, 1977.
The shipyard has built more than 350 vessels, including medium sized commercial ships. The yard’s last contracts included sections for the two new Royal Navy aircraft being assembled at Rosyth.