COMMENT: A sense of perspective is needed over leak

When it comes to the leak that has been found on new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, a sense of perspective is definitely needed.

Wednesday, 20th December 2017, 6:51 am

We’re talking about 200 litres of water every hour entering a £3.1bn behemoth that weighs 65,000 tonnes and is 280 metres long.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is the biggest and most powerful warship ever built by the UK and is not going to be laid low by the equivalent of two bathtubs full of water.

Yes, many people will say it’s embarrassing that the new Royal Navy flagship, only just commissioned to great fanfare by the Queen, has sprung a leak.

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They will also dismiss naval top brass’s attempts to play down the discovery as no big deal with a chorus of ‘well, they would say that, wouldn’t they?’

But if it really was that significant, do you think they would have gone ahead with commissioning the ship and accepting her into service earlier this month?

The reality is that they already knew of the faulty shaft seal and arrangements have been made for it to be rectified in her home port of Portsmouth at no additional cost to the taxpayer.

The bill, expected to be in the hundreds of thousands rather than millions of pounds, will be paid by the warship’s builders, the Aircraft Carrier Alliance – a group of companies including BAE Systems, Babcock and Thales.

As retired Rear Admiral Chris Parry says today, the leak resulted from intense testing of the ship. And that’s the whole point of sea trials – to deliberately stress the ship and discover any issues, then sort them out.

We trust the repair will be carried out soon and that HMS Queen Elizabeth is able to continue her sea trials in the new year before being proudly deployed around the world.