SAVE THE SAS SOMERSET

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Paul Barnett
Paul Barnett signed this petition

The SAS Someset is an old historic ship, which is in serious danger of being scrapped, she is the last of her kind still in existence, in the world, and she needs to be saved, before it is too late..

A small bit of history regarding this ship.

The HMS Barcross was built for the Royal Navy in the Blythe Shipyard in 1941 and launched in the same year. She was the first in a class of
76 similar boom defence vessels which were built during World War II. After being commissioned in 1942, she sailed to South Africa where
she was stationed in Saldanha Bay, laying and servicing booms. On 23 January 1943 she was renamed HMSAS Barcross, a name she kept
until 1947 when she was laid up at the Salisbury Island Naval Base in Durban.
In 1951 the vessel was renamed the SAS Somerset and recommissioned as part of the South African Navy; and operational duties were
restricted to salvage.
The ship was originally coal fired, but converted in 1959 to burn oil. New boilers were installed in 1967.
The Somerset was named after the horse which Dick King rode in 1842 on his historical journey between Durban and Grahamstown. He
completed the ride of 960 km (600 miles) in 10 days in order to request help for the besieged British garrison at Port Natal (now the Old Fort,
Durban) - hence the seahorse in the ship's crest.
Known fondly as the ‘African Queen’, she was decommissioned on 31 March 1986. At the time she was the longest serving ship in the South
African Navy. She was one of the first ships of the SA Navy when it was formed after World War II. She witnessed many of the SA Navy's
historic milestones and later played an important role in the history of marine salvage in South Africa.
On 24 May 1988 the SAS Somerset was towed from Simon's Town to Table Bay harbour where she was refurbished. On 2 September 1988
she was officially handed over by the Chief of the South African Navy, Vice-Admiral G Syndercombe, to the South African Cultural History
Museum which was later amalgamated with four other museums to form the Southern Flagship Institution, now known as Iziko Museums of
South Africa. 

DECISON TO SCRAP:
The Department of Public Works previously maintained the SAS Somerset as she was
considered to be a museum site, but later the DPW advised that the vessel would be viewed
as a large museum object and that DPW would no longer be responsible for repair and
maintenance. A vessel such as the SAS Somerset should be sent to the synchrolift every
five years for major repairs, but this is costly, so Iziko Museums of South Africa (Iziko) has
not been able to maintain the vessel.
Iziko has been approached by several companies to lease or purchase the SAS Somerset
for various business ventures, but once the vessel was surveyed the business proved not to
be financially viable.

Please, I plead with you all, sign my petition, before it's too late.. We are really close, to having a last ship of it's kind lost forever.