Aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth returns to port after on board leak

Britain's biggest and most powerful warship ever built has returned to port early after an on board leak, the Ministry of Defence said.

HMS Queen Elizabeth left Portsmouth Naval Base last month to embark on five weeks of sea trials and training before setting sail again to the US later this summer.

But the £3.1 billion aircraft carrier, which had been due to return to the Hampshire city later this week for a planned maintenance period, was forced to cut short the latest trials.

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Well-wishers wave off the Royal Navy's aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth as it sailed through the mouth of Portsmouth Harbour, to set sail for sea trials.
Members of the ship's company stand on the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth, as they cheer off veterans aboard the MV Boudicca sail out of Portsmouth Harbour for the he Port of Le Havre in France as part of the commemorations for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
File photo dated 18/08/18 of HMS Queen Elizabeth leaving Portsmouth Harbour in Hampshire. The Royal Navy's aircraft carrier will be deployed to the eastern seaboard of America later this summer, the Ministry of Defence has announced.
A mast is lowered on the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth allowing it to pass under the Forth Rail Bridge as it leaves the Firth of Forth following maintenance at the Rosyth Dockyards.
The aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth passes the cruise liner MSC Orchestra as she leaves the Firth of Forth following maintenance at the Rosyth Dockyards.
File photo dated 18/3/2018 of HMS Queen Elizabeth leaving Portsmouth Harbour. In a speech at the Royal United Services Institute, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said that the carrier, embarked with UK and US F-35 jets, will be deployed on her first operational mission to the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the Pacific region - where Beijing has been involved in a dispute over navigation rights and territorial claims in the South China Sea.
HMS Queen Elizabeth dockside at HMNB Portsmouth.
File photo dated 16/8/2017 of HMS Queen Elizabeth arriving at Portsmouth Harbour. In a speech at the Royal United Services Institute, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said that the carrier, embarked with UK and US F-35 jets, will be deployed on her first operational mission to the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the Pacific region - where Beijing has been involved in a dispute over navigation rights and territorial claims in the South China Sea.
The Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives in Portsmouth, returning home from her four-month Westlant deployment after successfully conducting flight trials of the F-35B fighter jets.
Crew onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth as she leaves Portsmouth Harbour in Hampshire for the US to undergo flight trials with the F35B for the first time.
General view of HMS Queen Elizabeth, as final preparations are made prior to her setting sail for the US to undergo flight trials with the F35B for the first time.
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A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defence said: "Following a minor issue with an internal system on HMS Queen Elizabeth, the ship's company were required to remove a small volume of water from the ship.

"An investigation into the cause is under way."

It is understood there was no damage or breach to the hull, with the situation caused by water which leaked into and was then contained in an internal compartment.

With the problem dealt with and isolated quickly, the water was pumped out and the vessel returned to Portsmouth as a precautionary measure following the incident on Tuesday.

This latest problem follows a number of other issues including a shaft seal leak which caused water to pour into the ship, and the accidental trigger of the sprinklers in the hangar.

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