First parts of new navy ship to sail tomorrow

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THE first Portsmouth-built section of the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier is due to sail out of Portsmouth Harbour tomorrow evening.

The 1,820-tonne block of the stern of HMS Queen Elizabeth has been loaded on to a barge at Portsmouth Naval Base to be taken to Rosyth in Scotland where the 65,000-tonne warship is being assembled.

The block, called Lower Block 05, has been built in two halves over 15 months.

It will leave Portsmouth Harbour on a 300ft barge at around 5.30pm tomorrow.

This week’s bad weather had threatened to play havoc with the planned move.

But BAE Systems engineers managed to beat the rain and high winds to get both of the steel sections on to the barge and start welding them into place yesterday.

BAE’s Portsmouth project manager Paul Bowsher said: ‘It’s going to be a magnificent sight coming past the Round Tower. It’s taken 15 months to get to this point. I’m immensely proud of the team.’

A larger, 6,000-tonne section of the ship is due to leave Portsmouth next month.