Rosyth-built aircraft carrier passes initial seaworthiness test

The second aircraft carrier to be built for the Royal Navy in the record-breaking design of the £3.1 billion HMS Queen Elizabeth has passed a major milestone - it floats.

The HMS Prince of Wales being assembled. Picture: Lisa Ferguson/TSPL

As its sister ship undergoes emergency repairs for an embarrassing leak, the HMS Prince of Wales rose up overnight as water was gradually let into its dry dock at Rosyth.

The 65,000-tonne behemoth, which has been taking shape at the yard over the past three years and is due to be handed over to the Navy in 2019, was moved to a berth where the Queen Elizabeth was fitted out.

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Leak discovered on new £3.1 billion ship HMS Queen Elizabeth

The now Portsmouth-based HMS Queen Elizabeth, the largest, most powerful and most expensive ship to be built for the Royal Navy in its history, was the subject of embarrassing revelations this week after it emerged it had a leak.

The 919ft-long (280m) vessel set out for sea trials over the summer and is believed to have been taking on water for some time due to a faulty seal.

The Government has insisted that repairs will not cost the taxpayer, with Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson telling the Press Association the money would come “from the contractors who built her”.

It is understood the cost of fixing the leak will not cost millions as reported, but the bill could reach into the hundreds of thousands.

Mr Williamson said: “This is the reason why we have the sea trials, to make sure that everything is working absolutely perfectly.”