Poor weather scuppers plans to dock HMS Queen Elizabeth in Rosyth

EFFORTS to dock Britain’s biggest warship in Scotland have been scuppered by poor weather.

Friday, 5th April 2019, 4:19 pm
HMS Queen Elizabeth has returned to Rosyth, the dry-dock where she was assembled, for the first time since leaving in 2017.

Aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has been forced to postpone her entry into Rosyth’s basin.

The enormous 65,000-tonne behemoth arrived in the Scottish port earlier this week to carry out much-needed maintenance work on her hull.

However, the ship’s official Twitter account the £3.1bn warship would have to wait a little bit longer until the work can start.

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‘Unfortunately the weather has “scunnered” our plans to enter the basin today,’ Queen Elizabeth tweeted.

‘Better safe than sorry and we will await the Scottish Squalls ceasing.’

It’s not the first time the super-sized warship’s seafaring plans have been delayed by the weather, with previous trips from Portsmouth having been postponed.

The Royal Navy’s future flagship was floated in July 2014 and sailed from Rosyth for the first time in June 2017.

Since then she has crossed the Atlantic to conduct historic trials with F35B Lightning test fighter jets in the USA and worked up towards her official in-service date of 2020.

Sailing back into Scottish waters, her commanding officer, Captain Nick Cooke-Priest said: ‘A lot of water has already passed under our keel since we left Rosyth in 2017.

‘Our return here is yet another first for HMS Queen Elizabeth and another important step on her journey as Britain generates a big deck carrier strike capability.’

As reported yesterday, Queen Elizabeth had to negotiate the three bridges over the River Forth.

She had to lower had mast to squeeze under the structures.

Now she needs to wait patiently before she can be guided into the basin, which will be her new home for the next few weeks.

She will have just one metre of clearance on each side of the ship and just over a metre separating the keel from the entrance sill.

Queen Elizabeth will then be manoeuvred into the inner basin, back into the dry dock where she was pieced together years ago,

An inspection will be carried out on her 920 foot-long hull, with any defects being rectified and marine growth removed.

The Commander Mark Hamilton, the supercarrier’s head of marine engineering, said: ‘This routine maintenance will include changing many of the large underwater valves, inspecting the rudders, propellers and stabilisers, as well as cleaning and touching up the underwater paint scheme.

‘Having completed this work, HMS Queen Elizabeth should not have to dry dock again for another six years.’

When the docking period is complete HMS Queen Elizabeth will sail to conduct further sea trials and training ahead of deploying again later this year.

She will conduct Westlant 19 – the name of the next phase of operational testing where she will embark British F35 jets, following on from last year’s successful developmental tests.

She will deploy operationally for the first time in 2021.