Highlands & Islands

Bello deck: Why is there a Minion on HMS Queen Elizabeth?

HMS Queen Elizabeth's Minion Image copyright HMS Queen Elizabeth
Image caption A piece of kit on the new warship being transformed into a Minion

A character from the children's movie franchise Despicable Me has appeared below the deck of the new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

An artistic marine engineer has made a piece of apparatus inside the £3bn warship look like a Minion.

Minions have their own language, saying "bello" for "hello" and "poopaye" for "goodbye".

The Aircraft Carrier Alliance said the paintwork followed a long navy tradition of personalising ships.

The Ministry of Defence contractor is putting HMS Queen Elizabeth through sea trials after leaving Rosyth dockyard in Fife where it was built.

Image copyright HMS Queen Elizabeth
Image caption The finished paintwork

The warship has been berthed at Invergordon in the Highlands since early July.

The tradition of sailors adding their own personal touch to warships has been flagged up by the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth.

After seeing a photograph of HMS Queen Elizabeth's new comedy artwork, the museum tweeted that sailors serving on the Mary Rose were believed to have personalised the Tudor warship.

The museum added: "Good to see some traditions survive."

The Aircraft Carrier Alliance said the Minion showed that the ship's company was settling into its new home.

A spokesman said: "HMS Queen Elizabeth will be home to her ship's company for months at a time and this is a real example of how they're really enjoying being on board and establishing their working and living routines whilst we undertake contractor sea trials."

Image copyright Royal Navy/MoD/Crown Copyright
Image caption The carrier is one of two being built at a cost of more than £6bn

Since arriving at Invergordon on the Cromarty Firth, members of the ship's company have also been meeting the local community.

Some of the crew attended the Inverness Highland Games at the weekend.

The Aircraft Carrier Alliance said the warship's sea trails were continuing.

The spokesman said: "HMS Queen Elizabeth is making progress through her sea trials programme, which is designed to test the full spectrum of her vast and complex systems.

"We fully anticipate this will identify areas for improvement that will be addressed at sea, during a number of routine port stops or as part of the planned engineering period."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Minions are characters in the Despicable Me movies

HMS Queen Elizabeth - one of two new carriers being built at Rosyth - began sea trials last month.

The ship had to pass under the Forth Bridge on its way to open sea.

It is the largest warship ever built for the Royal Navy. The flight deck alone is the size of three football pitches.

Once in service with the Royal Navy, the ship can operate with a crew of 1,000 and 40 aircraft.

The 65,000 tonne warship is the Royal Navy's first aircraft carrier since HMS Illustrious was scrapped in 2014.

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