The Royal Navy’s new £3.1billion aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has sprung a leak that could cost millions to repair.
A faulty seal around one of the vast warship’s propeller shafts means up to 200 litres of sea water pour in every hour. The fault on the £3.1bn carrier was first identified during sea trials.
As the fault lies beneath the water line it is very serious and she will not be able to sail until it has been properly fixed.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said the cost of the repair would be funded by the contractors that built it.
Her sister ship HMS Prince of Wales is apparently suffering from the same fate after the dry dock she is being built in was unable to be fully flooded last week as she too started taking on water in exactly the same place.
As the flood has appeared on both ships it is thought to be a design fault rather than the ship sustaining any damage during her first time at sea.
The 900ft (280m) long HMS Queen Elizabeth entered its home port of Portsmouth for the first time in August after starting two months of sea trials from Rosyth.
She was commissioned into the Royal Navy at the beginning of the month.
A Royal Navy spokesman said: “An issue with a shaft seal has been identified during HMS Queen Elizabeth’s sea trials; this is scheduled for repair while she is alongside at Portsmouth”.
However due to the complexity and size of the ship this may not be possible.