Restoration plan for tug Tender Calshot hit by escalating costs

PART of Southampton’s maritime heritage is at risk of being broken up and sold for scrap.

An ambitious project to restore a 93-year-old ship that took part in the D-Day landings could be sunk by soaring costs and the scale of the work required.

The Tug Tender Calshot has spent over a year in a dockyard overlooking the River Itchen after being moved from Southampton Docks.

The Tug Tender Calshot has spent over a year in a shipyard overlooking the River Itchen.

Project manager Glen Read said: “Calshot was acquired for a nominal sum from the TT Calshot Trust, who had been trying to preserve it, with very limited access to funds, for over 20 years.

“Its condition was known to be extremely fragile, but the sale offered a chance to renovate, rebuild and reuse it.”

Mr Read said a “substantial” amount of money had been spent over the past 14 months to dismantle the vessel and fully investigate its condition.

The extent of her deterioration meant that she needed a total rebuild.

Daily Echo: The Tug Tender Calshot has spent over a year in a shipyard overlooking the River Itchen.The Tug Tender Calshot has spent over a year in a shipyard overlooking the River Itchen.

Mr Read said “changes in world events” had led to substantial cost inflation and disruption of supply lines, making the program economically unviable.

“The painful decision was therefore made to recommend that the project be stopped.”

Information about the escalating costs and lack of any viable business outcome had been sent to the Isle of Man company that owned Calshot.

A decision would be made on whether to completely dismantle the ship and send the steel for reuse.

‘All possible avenues have been explored and every effort has been made by the entire yard team to save TT Calshot,’ Mr Read said.

“Many items important to the original ship have been saved and restored.”

Reacting to the revelation that Calshot could be scrapped, Southampton Itchen MP Royston Smith said: “This is such sad news.

“The council’s recent bid for City of Culture 2025 perfectly highlights the need to preserve our cultural heritage in addition to celebrating our creative industries.”

Calshot was launched in 1929 and helped maneuver the world’s largest ocean liners as they enter the port of Southampton.

In 1944, she was one of more than 7,000 ships that took part in the Normandy invasion, carrying parts of the famous port of Mulberry across the English Channel.

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