THE CAMPAIGNER who occupied Irvine’s historic Carrick clipper ship on Sunday in protest at plans to move it to Australia was this week told: “You’re wasting your time.”
Peter Maddison, who staged a similar demonstration in 2009, sneaked aboard under the cover of darkness in a last-ditch bid to have the Carrick – also known as The Adelaide – brought back to his home town of Sunderland where it was built.
He claims to have enough supplies for a “sustained occupation” but maritime bosses this week branded the protest “irrelevant” and vowed it would not derail plans to ship the Carrick down under.
Jim Tildesley, project director with the Scottish Maritime Museum, said: “This man has done this before. It will not hinder our plans or change our minds about the ship’s future.
“We have no plans to forcibly remove Mr Maddison. In fact we have no plans to talk to him at all.”
Mr Maddison is chairman of the Sunderland City of Adelaide Recovery Fund whose bid to take the Carrick down south was sunk by a lack of cash.
The Scottish Government announced a group from Adelaide as the preferred group to move and restore it but Mr Maddison, who named his own daughter after the ship, has doubts over the financial security of their plans. He also insists that Britain offers the best conditions for maintaining the Carrick.
He said: “I think that the very, very best place, and the only location where the ship can be sustainable into the long-term future, is back in Sunderland where she was built.”
“I absolutely believe that the vast majority of people in Sunderland, including the entire city council, would very much welcome the ship returning to Sunderland. We need the work and we need the jobs far, far more than the Australians need another tourist attraction.
“If this ship is transported, if she survives the massive journey through the southern ocean to Australia without breaking up, once she is down there she will bake under that hot dry sun.
“The wooden planks will warp, shrivel and dry out. “They will break the iron frames and there will not be anything left of our beautiful Adelaide within two years of being in Australia.”
But Director of the City of Adelaide project in Australia, Peter Christopher, hit back by saying: “The Adelaide based campaign has raised the funds, and has proven it has the technical expertise to save the ship.
“We may be volunteers but we are not amateurs, having both financial and technical capacity to ensure the long-term survival of the ship.
“Others may protest but we get the job done.”