Engineers this week cast doubt over the future of the fire-ravaged Cutty Sark and said that the £25M restoration project could be abandoned if damage to the ship's wrought iron hull is found to be severe.
Chairman of contractor Cutty Sark Enterprises Chris Livett said that initial inspections showed 'significant deformation' in the frames that give the tea clipper's hull its shape. Cutty Sark Enterprises is led by Balfour Beatty's project management subsidiary Heery Fire erupted in the Victorian tea clipper's hold early on Monday morning, destroying the integrity of its three decks. Timber members were entirely consumed, wrought iron beams lost section and some are feared to have yielded in the 1,000°C inferno.Livett warned that if significant deformation had occurred it could make it difficult to replace the original timbers that had been removed from the hull for restoration before the fire broke out.Engineers are currently conducting a visual inspection of the ship. A full structural survey is expected to take a month.'Until that's completed, we won't know whether it's worth continuing with the restoration or not,' Livett said.