HMS Prince of Wales fails to depart for Nato exercises

1 week ago 19

HMS Prince of Wales 11.2.24Image source, PA Media

Image caption,

HMS Prince of Wales has remained in Portsmouth despite a scheduled departure

A Royal Navy aircraft carrier has failed to set sail for a Nato exercise, a week after its sister ship pulled out because of a mechanical fault.

HMS Prince of Wales was due to replace HMS Queen Elizabeth in Exercise Steadfast Defender - the largest Nato exercise since the Cold War.

However, the £3bn warship has remained in Portsmouth and the harbour mouth has been reopened to normal marine traffic.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the departure had been "postponed".

Hundreds of people lined Portsmouth Harbour to watch the carrier's scheduled departure at 12:15 GMT.

However, after MoD police boats secured the area and the harbour mouth was closed, the channel was reopened and the crowd dispersed.

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

HMS Queen Elizabeth broke down shortly before departure last Sunday

Last Sunday, HMS Queen Elizabeth cancelled its deployment to the exercise off Norway at the last minute, after an "issue" was found with a coupling on the starboard propeller shaft.

In 2022, HMS Prince of Wales broke down off the Isle of Wight, when it also suffered a malfunction with a coupling on its starboard propeller.

The MoD previously said the issues were "separate and not linked".

HMS Prince of Wales was taken to Rosyth, Fife, to undergo repairs, which took nine months to complete.

An MoD spokesman said the sailing had been postponed and added that a further announcement would be made later on Sunday.

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