16/05/2006

SS Nomadic to return to Belfast in July

The SS Nomadic will return to Belfast in July, the Department of Social Development has today revealed.

The SS Nomadic was built at Harland and Wolff in Belfast in 1910 and was originally used to ferry first-class passengers to and from both the Titanic and its sister ship, the Olympic.

SS Nomadic survived service in two world wars and was later used as a restaurant on the Seine in Paris.

The British Government purchased the vessel for £170,000 at an auction in Paris in January this year, and on its return to Belfast it is expected to be restored to its former glory and used as the centrepiece for the new Titanic Quarter tourist attraction.

Commenting on the return of the SS Nomadic to its birthplace, Social Development Minister David Hanson MP said: “It is my great pleasure to confirm that the Nomadic will be back in Belfast in July. Following competitive tender my Department has contracted Anchor Marine and Hammer Marine Services to bring the Nomadic home to Belfast. To ensure the safe return of the vessel, a submersible barge will be used which presents the least risk to successfully transporting the 95-year old vessel”.

The Minister said that he would be announcing a final arrival date shortly and also announced that the DSD has brought forward the setting up of a charitable trust to coordinate the fund-raising and oversee the restoration of the Nomadic."

Following discussions, on the composition of the Board of Trustees the DSD will invite Belfast City Council, Belfast Harbour Commissioners, Belfast Industrial Heritage Society and the Titanic Society to nominate their trustees.

"These groups have expressed keen interest in the Nomadic and played a leading role in the campaign for the vessel to be purchased by Government and restored as a symbol of Northern Ireland’s maritime heritage and association with the Titanic story," he said.

Mr Hanson added that Belfast City Council has pledged £100,000 for the restoration fund, Belfast Harbour Commissioners have agreed to provide a free berth for the vessel and Belfast Industrial Heritage Society has been active in fund-raising.

The Department’s nominated trustees, including the chairperson are expected to be announced soon.

(EF/SP)

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