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04-22-2010, 12:28 PM
UK resorts to use navy ships as air ban continues



London, (IRNA): The UK government responded Monday to the continuing ban on flights caused by a volcanic ash cloud by drafting in three Navy ships to help the return of up to 200,000 Britons who have been stranded abroad.

The decision was announced after the UK's emergency committee Cobra met to discuss options in addressing the travel chaos caused by British airport being closed for the fifth consecutive days.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said agreement could be reached within hours for Spain to act as a hub for travellers trying to get home from Asia and northern and southern Africa with Madrid and other airports expected to be used.

"I believe this is one of the most serious transport disruptions we have faced," Brown said, emphasising safety remained "of paramount concern" following the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull volcano that has cast a cloud of ash over the UK and much of Europe.

"It's got financial consequences as well as human consequences and we will do everything in our power to make sure all the arrangements are in place to help people where possible to get back home," he said.

EU transport ministers were also holding emergency talks by video conference on easing the air travel crisis which is reportedly costing the global airline sector around $200 million a day with more than 6.8 million passengers affected so far.

The aircraft carrier Ark Royal and the assault ships Ocean and Albion were being deployed to help increase cross-Channel options while extra capacity was also being provided on coaches, ferries and Eurostar and Eurotunnel trains.