Ark to be saved
Proud ... Ark Royal sailing off the Rock of Gibraltar
THE warship Ark Royal is set to end up as a floating tourist attraction in Gibraltar.
An international consortium is planning a bid for Britain's flagship aircraft carrier, which has been decommissioned.
The Ministry of Defence has put the 22,000-ton ship up for sale in Portsmouth, where she is currently tied up, and is inviting tenders by the middle of next month.
Last night hopes were pinned on the Gibraltar bid succeeding as the most likely other option is for her to be scrapped like her sister ship Invincible.
Gibraltar has seven million tourists visiting each year and the 30-year-old carrier, the fifth Royal Navy ship to bear the name, would be a major draw.
The Rock has played a huge part in naval history and the third Ark Royal was torpedoed not far offshore in 1941.
A spokesman for the Gibraltar-based consortium said: "Having the last Ark here would be a fitting tribute to her and all the others. We know how supportive the British public will be."
The ship would be turned into a floating exhibition highlighting the roles of the Navy and Fleet Air Arm.
Mike Critchley, publisher of Warship World magazine, said: "Ark Royal is far too much of a national asset for her to be dragged off for scrap.