A PETITION has been launched to bring the decommissioned warship HMS Edinburgh back to the Capital as a “floating museum” next to the Royal Yacht Britannia.
A navy veteran who served on the ship has mounted the campaign which follows news of initial talks between Forth Ports and Britannia bosses about the feasibility of the move.
Lothians MSP Margo MacDonald has already floated the idea in the Scottish Parliament.
It comes as HMS Edinburgh – the last of the Royal Navy’s Type 42 destroyers – sailed into port for the final time ahead of being decommissioned and scrapped.
The ship, which has clocked up almost 800,000 miles in its 30-year career, returned to Portsmouth Naval Base following a farewell tour in which it returned to the Capital.
HMS Edinburgh’s White Ensign will be lowered for the final time during a decommissioning ceremony at the naval base on June 6.
Paul Gibb, who created the Save HMS Edinburgh petition, served on board as a marine engineering mechanic from 1991 to 1994.
Mr Gibb, 40, from Dunfermline, said: “When I heard HMS Edinburgh was coming to Leith as part of her final tour of the UK, I knew it was my last opportunity to say goodbye to an old friend.
“I didn’t prepare myself for the emotions I would feel seeing her after 19 years. She looked as magnificent today as she did when I first saw her.”
Mr Gibb, who said the ship would boost the economy and tourism, added: “I was given a tour of her by the ship’s company and they were really good and admitted that a lot of us veterans would probably know more about the ship than they did.
“Knowing that the Edinburgh was initially going to be sold on, I asked members of the crew their thoughts on the matter and it became apparent that this was the original plan but no longer seemed to be a viable option. On the last deployment the ship had major mechanical problems and it seemed that she was destined for the scrapheap.”
Built by Cammell Laird at Birkenhead, HMS Edinburgh was launched in April 1983 and commissioned in December 1985. Her first deployment was to the Arabian Gulf in 1987, escorting numerous merchant ships safely through the region.
The following year, the Duke of York joined as one of the ship’s officers, serving on board during a six-month round-the-world deployment. Other deployments have included the Gulf War in 2003 in which she supported Royal Marines and acted as escort to the helicopter carrier HMS Ocean.
In 2008, during operations in the Gulf, HMS Edinburgh seized a drugs cargo – stashed on board a sailing boat – worth several million pounds.
Commander Nick Borbone, HMS Edinburgh commanding officer, said: “After the success of her final operational deployment in March, this has been a fitting finale to an illustrious career for HMS Edinburgh.
“The welcome, hospitality and warmth that we have received during visits to the capital, her namesake city and finally to her birthplace in Liverpool is clear evidence of a nation that holds the Royal Navy in extremely high regard.”
The Royal Navy said it was too early to say what the plans for HMS Edinburgh were.
A spokeswoman for Britannia previously said they would be “delighted” if the idea could be brought to fruition.