CAMPAIGNERS battling to save the world’s oldest surviving clipper ship for Sunderland have welcomed news she is on the move.
The Sunderland City of Adelaide Recovery Fund (Scarf) is locked in a war of words with the Australian Clipper Ship City of Adelaide Ltd (CSCOAL) over the future of the ship, which is currently in Scotland.
The Australians beat Scarf to the rights to the ship in 2010, with owners, the Scottish Maritime Museum and Historic Scotland, dismissing the plans to move the ship to Wearside.
CSCOAL announced yesterday that the Adelaide will start the journey Down Under next month.
The clipper, atop a large barge, will moor for several days near the Cutty Sark at Greenwich for a celebration and farewell in October, before setting out on the 22,000 km trip, and is due to arrive in Port Adelaide between February and April next year.
“This is such an exciting time,” said director and spokesperson Peter Christopher.
“I can almost picture the spectacle as the clipper is transported up the River Thames to Greenwich, bringing together the two last original 19th century clipper ships.
“I am sure it will create international media interest in South Australia and in Adelaide’s determination to save the ship.”
But Scarf chairman Peter Maddison vowed the group had not given up hope of bringing the Adelaide to Wearside and said he believed moving the ship to London would actually help the campaign by making a legal challenge to its export easier.
“This is great news for our campaign,” he said.
“Scotland has its own legal system, something we were constantly frustrated by,” he said.
The group plans to lodge a formal objection to the Adelaide’s export, a move Peter believes will keep the ship in the UK well into next year.
“We will put this application in that we are very confident will be granted,” he said.
“The ship will be in Greenwich for six months.”
The move to Greenwich would also raise the campaign’s profile.
The group has commissioned a copy of the Adelaide’s rudder, which has already been exported to Australia, and had intended to march to Scotland with it.
“Instead of marching the rudder to Scotland, we will be able to march it to Greenwich,” said Peter.