HMS Prince of Wales ‘faces long spell in dry dock’ after breaking down

HMS Prince of Wales, the Royal Navy’s £3 billion aircraft carrier, could be set for a lengthy inspection in a dry dock as its “landmark mission” hangs in the balance because of a mechanical fault, The Telegraph has learned.

The warship remained anchored off the south-east coast of the Isle Wight on Monday, where it broke down on Sunday evening less than 24 hours after setting sail for the United States.

The Royal Navy on Monday night confirmed earlier reports that there was a fault with the starboard shaft and that it was likely the vessel will require repairs.

Rear Admiral Steve Moorhouse, who is responsible for ensuring warships are ready to deploy, said: “Shortly after the ship sailed on Saturday, a mechanical fault was discovered with the starboard shaft.

“I’ve been to the ship today to see for myself what the issue is, and how we in the Royal Navy can work together to make sure that the ship can successfully returned to her tasking. After the initial assessment, it’s likely the fault will require repairs, which may impact the ship’s programme. The ship is now moving to a more sheltered anchorage for further inspection.”

The 65,000 ton ship has been moved from the Sandown anchorage to nearby Stokes Bay, a more sheltered area that would allow divers to conduct detailed inspections.

The Telegraph understands specialists from the Navy are still working to determine the significance of the fault and that returning HMS Prince of Wales to port – possibly including a lengthy inspection in a dry dock – has not been ruled out.

On Monday, the Royal Navy wrote on Twitter: 

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