Navy's £3bn flagship has spent more time in dock than it has at sea

Navy’s £3bn flagship HMS Prince of Wales has spent more time in dock than it has at sea after its embarrassing breakdown after leaving Portsmouth

  • HMS Prince of Wales has spent more time being repaired than at sea since 2019
  • The Navy’s Nato flagship has spent a total of 268 days undergoing repairs
  • The ship cost £3billion and is the largest in the Royal Navy at 65,000 tonnes

The Navy’s £3billion Nato flagship HMS Prince of Wales has spent more time being repaired than at sea since it was commissioned in 2019.

The carrier spent 268 days undergoing repairs from December 2019 to Christmas Eve – and 267 days at sea, according to The Times.

It spent 193 days having floodwater damage fixed at an estimated cost of £3.3million. And this year a propeller shaft malfunction was identified as it left Portsmouth and the carrier was returned to Rosyth, Fife.

A Navy spokesman said repairs are due to be completed by spring 2023, ahead of a ‘pre-planned maintenance period’ in Portsmouth.

HMS Prince of Wales spent 268 days undergoing repairs from December 2019 to Christmas Eve – and 267 days at sea, according to The Times. The ship is pictured in Portsmouth in October 2022

HMS Prince of Wales is the largest ship in the Royal Navy and weighs 65,000 tonnes.

The problems began in 2020 when the roof of an accommodation block on the warship collapsed, sending water gushing onto sailors.

Months later, electrical cabinets and pipes were submerged when a leak sprung in the ship’s engine room.

And that same year, more than 100 crew members had to spend the night on the carrier’s sister ship HMS Queen Elizabeth, when the HMS Prince of Wales lost power.

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, chief of the defence staff, has admitted the problems were ‘deeply frustrating’.

Speaking at the annual Rusi lecture earlier this month, he said: ‘These are massive capital projects were sometimes things will go wrong’.

HMS Prince of Wales is the largest ship in the Royal Navy and weighs 65,000 tonnes. Pictured: HMS Prince of Wales returns to Portsmouth Naval Base after breaking down off the Isle of Wight in September 2022

For now, HMS Queen Elizabeth has replaced the beleaguered carrier on overseas developments – despite the sister ships usually alternating on eight-month tours.

It is understood the technical issues are not related to the ship’s class.

A spokesman for Babcock, the company The Times reports as responsible for building the propeller shaft, said: ‘Work is ongoing to understand the cause of the issue and Babcock remains focused on completing the repair.’

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