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29th Aug 2022

Multi-billion pound Royal Navy ship breaks down a day after leaving Portsmouth

Jack Peat

It’s not the first time HMS Prince of Wales has encountered problems… 

A £3 billion Royal Navy aircraft carrier has broken down just one day after departing from Portsmouth to begin a four-month deployment to the US.

HMS Prince of Wales returned to the south coast to allow the Navy to conduct “investigations into an emerging mechanical issue,” a spokesperson said on Sunday.

Divers have been inspecting the 930-foot carrier after damage was reported to a propeller shaft, according to the Navy Lookout news site.

The vessel – Britain’s largest warship and Nato’s flagship carrier – has had a history of problems, getting stranded in Portsmouth at the end of 2020 after flooding in its engine room damaged the electrics. During its first two years in service, the carrier reportedly spent fewer than 90 days at sea after springing leaks twice in five months.

It was due to cross the Atlantic with its crew of 1,600, stopping in Halifax, Canada as well as in New York and the Caribbean. The crew is scheduled to train alongside the US military and the Royal Canadian Navy in a programme with F-35B jets and uncrewed systems.

The vessel received a lively sendoff, sailing past the Victorious music festival on Southsea Common in Portsmouth in the middle of a Sugababes performance.

The HMS Prince of Wales is part of the UK’s carrier strike group alongside its sister ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, which is to deploy to the Baltic and Mediterranean this autumn.

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