UK-based engineering company Babcock International has announced its decision to end operations at its Appledore shipbuilding facility in Devon.

According to the company announcement, the shipyard on the estuary of River Torridge in North Devon will be permanently closed in March next year.

Media reports have stated that the decision to end operations come after Babcock International failed to enter a contract for the development of a vessel for the Armed Forces of Malta, reported NavalToday.

Following the decision, the company is currently focused on protecting its entire workforce of 199 employees by securing their employment within the business.

“Babcock intends to provide relocation options for all affected workers at other company facilities.”

Babcock intends to provide relocation options for all affected workers at other company facilities. So far, 140 staff have been placed on short-term redeployment for the firm’s Devonport operations.

Furthermore, the company plans to engage in a consultation period and will work in close cooperation with its employees and their Trade Unions representatives to come over the current challenges.

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Established in 1855, the Appledore has built more than 200 vessels based on both naval and commercial design standards.

Recently, the shipbuilding facility has built the Róisín-class and the LÉ Samuel Beckett-class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for the Irish Naval Service.

In addition, the builder has developed the UK Royal Navy ships, HMS Scott, HMS Echo and HMS Enterprise, as well as was involved in the construction of many steel sections for the service’s newest Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.