Navy launches probe after leak on board aircraft carrier

The Royal Navy has launched an investigation after a pipe leaked aboard aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales, causing an ankle-high flood.

A video of water pouring through the ceiling into an accommodation area of the 65,000-tonne warship was posted on Facebook page Jackspeak.

The leak is understood to have taken place on Friday while the £3 billion warship was at Portsmouth Naval Base.

HMS Prince of Wales
HMS Prince of Wales leaving Portsmouth Naval Base for the first time earlier this year (Ben Mitchell/PA)

A Royal Navy spokesman said: “Following a minor issue with an internal system on HMS Prince of Wales, the ship’s company were required to remove a small volume of water from the ship.

“An investigation into the cause is now under way but this will not affect the ship’s programme.”

It is understood that the pipe was isolated quickly and the water was mopped up by the crew.

HMS Queen Elizabeth
The Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth dwarfs Ryde on the Isle of Wight as it sails from anchor off Gosport, Hampshire, for sea trials on Friday, May 15 (Ben Mitchell/PA)

The leak comes after sister ship HMS Queen Elizabeth had to cut short sea trials last July after a seal burst causing a large quantity of water to pour from a pipe and to flood through several decks.

Following the incident, the ship’s then commanding officer Captain Steve Moorhouse said it was safe and that in his experience leaks were a “weekly” problem for warships.

HMS Prince of Wales has recently been testing its safety systems including the deployment of life rafts and emergency chutes while the Queen Elizabeth set sail from anchor off Gosport, Hampshire, on Friday to carry out sea trials off the south coast.

First stage of training complete. Next time we see Portsmouth this close will be to take on stores to support @OC617Sqn.

Then comes the first embarkation of our operational #F35 squadron.

— HMS Queen Elizabeth (@HMSQNLZ) May 15, 2020

The older of the two carriers had to delay its departure from Portsmouth last month to enable its 700-strong crew to be tested for Covid-19 of which two tested positive and were removed from the ship.

The rest of the ship underwent a period of quarantine at sea prior to commencing the training exercises.

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