Flooding repairs to Royal Navy's £3.2bn aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales are 'going well'

EFFORTS to repair a leaky Royal Navy aircraft carrier – worth £3.2bn – are ‘progressing well’, a defence minister has insisted.

Tuesday, 15th December 2020, 4:15 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th December 2020, 4:38 pm

HMS Prince of Wales, the navy’s most powerful warship, suffered a serious flood in its engine room in October.

A faulty fire system unleashed thousands of gallons of water into a compartment in the ship, wrecking electrical systems.

The damage was so severe it is expected to take months to fix, with the ship now stranded in Portsmouth until early next year, reports claimed.

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Pictured: HMS Prince of Wales during her visit to Liverpool earlier this year and, inset, the flooded engine room of the ship in October.

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Naval mechanics are now checking over miles of electrical cabling, which has forced top brass to axe Prince of Wales’s trip to the east coast of America, which had been scheduled to take place this year.

Despite the setback, defence minister Jeremy Quin – who oversees purchases of key military kit for the armed forces – insisted the ship training programme for next year was still on track.

Replying to a question by Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan, about the impact of the flooding, Mr Quin said: ‘Repairs of the damage caused by floodwater in the engine room of HMS Prince of Wales are progressing as planned.

‘The ship's company is conducting concurrent preparations for their programme of at sea training activity in 2021 which precede her operational commitments.’

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As previously reported, the flood was the second one to hit the ship this year.

In May, water was filmed pouring through a ceiling in the vessel's living quarters. The navy described that incident as ‘minor’.

The Senior Service insisted that HMS Prince of Wales will still be operational by 2023 as it was scheduled.

Speaking of the fallout from the latest flood, a source told The Sun: ‘It’s embarrassing. The America trip took years of planning and we’ve had to say we can’t come.

‘It will take months to repair the damage. Costs will run to millions.’

The vessel was running on its diesel generators instead of from the naval base’s power system while trials were being carrier out on the upgraded shore-based supply system.

Exasperated Gosport resident Neil Sutton said people were sticking ‘our heads under our pillows at night’ in a bid to get some sleep.

‘In this lockdown, why can we not open our windows and enjoy peace and tranquility?,' he told The News earlier this year.

HMS Prince of Wales is the second of the navy's two new aircraft carriers.

She is slightly longer and fractionally heavier than her old sister, HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Both vessels are capable of housing 36 F-35Bs and four helicopters.

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