HMS Prince of Wales Unable to Depart for Nato Exercises


The Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, has been unable to depart for a Nato exercise, just a week after its sister ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, withdrew due to a mechanical issue. The HMS Prince of Wales was set to replace the HMS Queen Elizabeth in Exercise Steadfast Defender, Nato’s largest exercise since the Cold War. However, the £3bn warship remains docked in Portsmouth and normal marine traffic has resumed in the harbour.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) stated that the departure had been “postponed”. Many spectators had gathered at Portsmouth Harbour to witness the carrier’s planned departure at 12:15 GMT. However, after the area was secured by MoD police boats and the harbour mouth was closed, it was reopened and the crowd dispersed.

Last Sunday, HMS Queen Elizabeth cancelled its participation in the exercise off Norway due to an “issue” with a coupling on the starboard propeller shaft. In 2022, HMS Prince of Wales experienced a similar malfunction off the Isle of Wight. The MoD has stated that these issues are not related.

The HMS Prince of Wales was previously taken to Rosyth, Fife, for repairs which took nine months to complete. An MoD spokesperson said that a further announcement about the postponed sailing would be made later on Sunday.

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