LONDON, UK.- Heritage Minister Andrew McIntosh today announced the creation of a National Historic Ships Unit. Giving evidence today to the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport, Andrew McIntosh said: "Historic Ships are an important part of our rich maritime heritage and this year's 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar underlines that. But the approach to the preservation of historic ships has been fragmented and uncoordinated with no clear sense of priorities.
"We are therefore committed to delivering a national policy on ship preservation that preserves the best of our maritime heritage and we have consulted widely. Following consultation I am today announcing the establishment of a National Historic Ships Unit to advise the Government on policy and funding priorities for historic ships, to co-ordinate work within the sector to assist those directly engaged in preservation; and to maintain an up to date register of the historic fleet, including the National Register of Historic Ships and "At Risk" register. The Unit will encourage a better understanding of the costs of restoring and maintaining historic vessels; advise the Heritage Lottery Fund on ship preservation priorities and bids for funding and promote historic ships to a wider audience."
Rear Admiral Roy Clare, Director of the National Maritime Museum, said : "The National Maritime Museum welcomes the announcement of the new Unit, which will substantially enhance the expertise and organisational resources available to those responsible for Britain's many significant historic vessels. The product of extensive consultation by DCMS, the Unit aims to refine and focus advice available to grant-giving bodies, such as the Heritage Lottery Fund. This outcome owes much to the drive of the Admiral of the Fleet Sir Julian Oswald, until recently Chairman of the National Historic Ships Committee, whose leadership has helped to bring about the revised policy. The Museum looks forward to sustaining its support for the heritage fleet and assisting directly with the process of establishing the Unit in Greenwich under an independent board."