HMS Queen Elizabeth: Leak forces aircraft carrier to abandon sea trials

HMS Queen ElizabethImage source, MOD
Image caption,
The leak on the £3.1bn carrier was first identified during sea trials on Tuesday

The UK's new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, has returned from sea trials early after a leak was found.

The Royal Navy's future flagship left Portsmouth Naval Base last month for five weeks of sea trials and training.

A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokeswoman described the leak as "a minor issue with an internal system" on Britain's biggest warship.

The £3.1bn ship returned to Portsmouth as a precautionary measure after the leak was found on Tuesday.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
The warship is expected to be the Navy's flagship for at least 50 years

Water leaked into an internal compartment, where it was contained.

It was pumped out and the 900ft (280m) long warship returned to port.

The MoD said: "An investigation into the cause is under way."

This latest problem follows a number of other issues including a shaft seal leak, which caused the ship to take on 200 litres of water every hour, and the accidental triggering of the sprinklers in the hangar.

In May the captain of the aircraft carrier was removed from the ship amid claims he misused an MoD car.

HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier facts

  • The Queen commissioned the warship into the Royal Navy fleet in December 2017
  • As part of the ceremony, an 8ft-long (2.44m) cake replica of the ship which required 7kg of flour and 160 eggs was cut
  • The £3.1bn carrier is capable of carrying up to 40 aircraft
  • The flight deck spans four acres and will be used to launch the F35 stealth fighter
  • When the warship becomes operational in 2020 it will carry about 1,600 crew

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