Royal Navy: HMS Queen Elizabeth to leave Portsmouth and head for Rosyth after shaft coupling fault

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HMS Queen Elizabeth is due to return to where she was built to fix a mechanical fault.

The Royal Navy aircraft carrier was due to sail from Portsmouth to the North Sea on Nato's largest mission since The Cold War - but those plans were scuppered. She suffered a mechanical fault to her propeller shaft coupling, which was found during "pre-sailing" checks on February 4.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is due to sail to Rosyth in Scotland after a fault stopped her from sailing to the North Sea. Picture: Sarah Standing (010224-6156)HMS Queen Elizabeth is due to sail to Rosyth in Scotland after a fault stopped her from sailing to the North Sea. Picture: Sarah Standing (010224-6156)
HMS Queen Elizabeth is due to sail to Rosyth in Scotland after a fault stopped her from sailing to the North Sea. Picture: Sarah Standing (010224-6156) | Sarah Standing

HMS Prince of Wales took her place on Exercise Steadfast Defender leading the UK Carrier Strike Group. The Royal Navy launched an investigation and said the fault was caused by "wear and tear". The Earl of Minto, Conservative member of the House of Lords, said: "Following initial investigations, HMS “Queen Elizabeth” will be required to sail for Rosyth in Scotland to undergo repairs for an issue with her starboard propeller shaft coupling, which will be carried out in due course.

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"Her issue is not the same as that experienced by HMS Prince of Wales back in 2022." Responding to a question from Baroness Anderson of Stoke-on-Trent, The Earl said a more specific cause for the fault may be found. He added: "I am assured that the carrier which has left to join Steadfast Defender will certainly fulfil its commitments, and that the Queen Elizabeth is on her way to dry dock to find out exactly what is wrong."

No specific dates have been given for when the warship will leave Portsmouth. Lord West of Spithead, former First Sea Lord, previously branded the carriers as "unreliable" due to the repeated problems.

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