LONDON: Fancy an aircraft carrier for Christmas? Britain’s cash-strapped military yesterday launched a search for buyers for its sole remaining aircraft carrier, saying it would entertain bids from companies, charities and trusts. The ageing, battle-worn HMS Illustrious — 210 metres long and weighing 22,000 tonnes — is one of the Royal Navy’s best-known symbols. It has ferried equipment during the Gulf War and supported evacuations of British nationals from Sierra Leone over the past 32 years. Bidders do not need to be British but the buyer has to keep all or part of the ship in Britain for heritage purposes, a Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said. The ship is one of the Invincible class built in the 1970s and 1980s.
Venezuela frees seized oil ship
CARACAS: The Malaysian company that owns a US-hired oil survey ship detained last week by Venezuela in a territorial dispute with neighbouring Guyana said yesterday that the boat and its 36-member crew had been released. SapuraKencana Petroleum said that it was grateful to President Nicolas Maduro’s government for releasing the RV Teknik Perdana, which was picked up by Venezuela’s navy last week and taken to Margarita Island. “We wish to express our gratitude to the Venezuelan government for caring for the safety and welfare of the crew, which comprises multiple nationalities, during the time they were at Margarita Island and also for releasing the vessel,” the Kuala Lumpur-based company said. Venezuela’s navy boarded and seized the RV Teknik Perdana, which was being used by Texas-based Anadarko for a seabed survey, on Thursday.