FEARS FOR FU­TURE OF UNI VES­SEL

Claims cuts could force sale of Prince Madog... but uni says there are no plans to im­pact on re­search

Bangor Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Gareth Wyn Wil­liams

AN AM has raised fears that a £2.8m re­search ves­sel could be leased out or even sold amid uni­ver­sity fund­ing cuts.

An­gle­sey’s Assem­bly Mem­ber Rhun ap Ior­w­erth has writ­ten to Ban­gor Uni­ver­sity’s vice chan­cel­lor to seek clar­i­fi­ca­tion over the fu­ture of the Prince Madog, which has been a fa­mil­iar sight on the Me­nai Strait for many years.

The state-of-the-art, pur­pose-built re­search ves­sel, com­mis­sioned by Ban­gor Uni­ver­sity, has been in ser­vice since July 2001.

Ca­pa­ble of ac­co­mo­dat­ing 10 sci­en­tists and 20 stu­dents, it en­ables marine ex­perts to study our seas, while also be­ing used by other uni­ver­sity de­part­ments as a teach­ing plat­form, train­ing the next generation of marine sci­en­tists.

But Mr ap Ior­w­erth says staff have ap­proached him with con­cerns that the ves­sel could be leased or sold, with the univer- sity look­ing to make cuts of around £8.5m.

A spokesper­son for Ban­gor Uni­ver­sity con­firmed they have “no plans nor com­mit­ments” that would im­pact on their planned teach­ing or re­search ac­tiv­i­ties, and no third-party char­ters in place for 2018.

But it is un­der­stood from se­nior ship crew that op­tions are be­ing con­sid­ered that could re­sult in the ship be­ing sold.

Mr ap Ior­w­erth has raised con­cerns that, as a re­sult, it would “seem in­evitable that the ma­jor­ity of its lo­cal crew would lose their jobs.”

The Ynys MÔn AM said: “The Prince Madog is not only an iconic sight to us who know the Strait well, but it has also be­come a sym­bol of the ex­cel­lence of the School of Ocean Sciences.

“Many stu­dents will have been at­tracted to study here be­cause of the Prince Madog and the op­por­tu­ni­ties it of­fers.

“As a joint ven­ture be­tween the uni­ver­sity and in­dus­try it is al­ready used com­mer­cially much of the time, which helps sub­sidise its aca­demic use, but now I un­der­stand that it could be lost to cur­rent and fu­ture stu­dents.

“I hope it’s not too late and that the jobs re­liant on the Prince Madog can be saved.”

One se­nior crew mem­ber on the Prince Madog, who wished to re­main anony­mous, said: “I think it has to be made clear that it is not sim­ply a con­cern for crew mem­bers’ jobs, but is also con­cerned with jobs of peo­ple op­er­at­ing in part­ner­ship with the ves­sel.

“The Prince Madog is an as­set which was de­signed, built and funded specif­i­cally for the use and ben­e­fit of a Welsh Uni­ver­sity – why should it lose this amaz­ing and unique as­set?”

In re­sponse, a spokesper­son for Ban­gor Uni­ver­sity said: “The uni­ver­sity is cur­rently com­mit­ted to us­ing the Prince Madog for 125 days per year. Cur­rently, there are no plans or com­mit­ments made that im­pact on the uni­ver­sity’s planned teach­ing and re­search ac­tiv­i­ties over those 125 days.”

The spokesper­son added: “The ves­sel’s man­age­ment com­pany is con­stantly re­quired to sup­port its vi­a­bil­ity through the sourc­ing of third-party char­ters which is an on­go­ing ef­fort, how­ever, there are cur­rently no such ar­range­ments in place for 2018.”

Con­cerns have been raised that the Price Madog may be leased or sold – spark­ing fears for crew jobs

Rhun ap Ior­w­erth AM says staff ap­proached him to voice fears for the fu­ture of Ban­gor Uni­ver­sity re­search ves­sel Prince Madog

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