Appledore Shipyard has lost out on a £200million contract to build a polar research vessel.In June, shipyard operator Babcock International was announced as one of eight shortlisted contractors for the Government-funded project. If the bid had been successful, a major part of the state-of-the-art ship would have been built at Appledore and would have been a huge investment for the region with the promise of jobs for several years to come. But Cammell Laird in Birkenhead has been announced by the Natural Environment Research Council as the preferred shipbuilder, after a bidding process which lasted nearly a year. The Gazette understands that some Appledore shipyard workers have now been offered the oppurtunity to move to Babcocks Devonport yard in Plymouth. A Babcock spokesman said: Babcock is very proud of the solution we produced to design and build the new polar research vessel and are naturally disappointed not to have been selected as preferred supplier. Our operation at Appledore is currently focused on delivering the third OPV (Offshore Patrol Vessel) for our customer, the Irish Naval Service, and also continuing our work on the second aircraft carrier, the Prince of Wales for the Ministry of Defence. The spokesman was unable to comment on how long these contracts would provide work at the shipyard, or confirm that workers were being asked to transfer to Devonport. He was also unable to say what future contracts might be in the pipeline for Appledore. The polar research vessel will be an ice-capable, helicopter-carrying research and logistics ship with a scientific moon pool. It will be operated for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) by the British Antartic Survey and enter service in 2019.