Defects in Royal Navy’s newest patrol ship HMS Forth will be fixed ‘rapidly’, BAE Systems vows

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FAULTS discovered in one of the Royal Navy’s newest warships will be fixed ‘rapidly’, a defence firm has vowed.

HMS Forth is the latest vessel to enter the navy’s fleet in Portsmouth. It is part of a new breed of five offshore patrol vessels (OPVs).

HMS Forth arrives in Portsmouth in February'''Picture by Stephen Ashton

HMS Forth arrives in Portsmouth in February'''Picture by Stephen Ashton

However, an investigation has been sparked after more than 100 defects were unearthed – just days after she entered naval service.

The news comes as an embarrassing blow for BAE Systems, the company charged with building and maintaining the vessel.

BAE claimed the faults were minor and had no impact on safety. It’s understood many of the issues were known by the Royal Navy and were picked up during early trials of the ship as she sailed from the Clyde, in Scotland, to her home in Portsmouth.

Among the defects identifed was a flaw in a small number of bolts in the structures attaching some of the ship’s eight life-rafts to its hull, with bolt heads found to have been cut off and glued in place.

A BAE spokesman: ‘We are actively supporting the Royal Navy to resolve issues around a limited number of bolt fastenings and the electrical system on HMS Forth.

‘These are unrelated issues and investigations for each are now underway to ensure that we resolve any potential impact and establish the cause.

‘We are committed to delivering equipment that meets rigorous safety and quality standards.’

The vessel is currently alongside in Portsmouth while work is undertaken to repair her electrical systems.

It is unlikely the repairs will delay Forth’s future deployments, with work expected to be finished in about two weeks.

BAE said the issues with the life-raft bolts ‘did not present a risk to the mechanisms’ that secure the rafts to the ship.

An MoD spokesman added: ‘It is normal for us to work with industry partners to make some rectifications to ships once they have been handed to the Royal Navy

‘BAE Systems is already at work on some areas as we work together to ensure HMS Forth goes on to tackle piracy, safeguard our fishing stocks and protect our coastline.’

Forth was commissioned into the navy during a ceremony at Portsmouth Naval Base last month.

Forth and her sister ships will be used to tackle piracy, drugs smuggling and fishery protection roles.

She is expected to deploy on her first mission later this year after completing sea trials.