Carrier parts leave Portsmouth for Scotland

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The first Portsmouth-built parts of the navy’s new supercarriers are now on their way to Scotland.

The two stern pieces left Portsmouth Harbour today on a barge for a 500-mile trip to Rosyth

The 1,820-tonne block of the stern of the HMS Queen Elizabeth leaving Portsmouth on Sunday''Picture: Sarah Standing (121515-914)

The 1,820-tonne block of the stern of the HMS Queen Elizabeth leaving Portsmouth on Sunday''Picture: Sarah Standing (121515-914)

A few dozen dedicated souls braved the appalling weather at the Round Tower in Old Portsmouth to catch a glimpse of the first blocks of the warship to emerge from BAE Systems’s yard at Portsmouth Naval Base.

Among them, beaming with pride, was BAE project manager Claudia Roberts.

She said: ‘For Portsmouth, this is huge. It shows what we can do and when we do it we do it really well.

‘This has been my baby for the last 15 months and now I’ve handed her over.’

The stern section, called Lower Block 05, will take four days to reach Rosyth where Queen Elizabeth – which is built across six UK sites – is being put together.

Its sailing marks the latest milestone of the 1,300-man project in Portsmouth to build the sterns, parts of the hulls and flight deck towers for 65,000-tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth and her identical sister ship HMS Prince of Wales.

It’s also another page in the long, proud history of Portsmouth shipbuilding which is under threat of decline once the carrier work is finished in 2014.

The next part to leave Portsmouth is a massive 6,000-tonne section of the hull called Lower Block 02 which is scheduled to set sail for Rosyth on May 25.

The carriers will be based in Portsmouth from 2016.