A senior Babcock International executive has been quoted by sources as saying SNP indifference to the sailing of the carrier is a snub to yard workers.
As quoted in EBN, Naval Today Blog and the Express who broke the news, the executive said:
“I am disappointed for our workforce that their own Government has ignored this project and dismissed it as an English project being carried out in a Scottish naval yard. The project has involved suppliers from across Scotland, has produced hundreds of apprentice and graduate opportunities for Scottish youngsters, has involved several universities in development and technical support activities and has been a landmark project for Scotland watched by countries around the world.”
After a question from MSP Murdo Fraser at Holyrood, Sturgeon said:
“I commend all those at Rosyth and elsewhere in Scotland who have contributed to the construction of the Queen Elizabeth. I thank them for their efforts and wish them well as they move on to their next assignment, so I have no difficulty, for once, in agreeing with Murdo Fraser.”
The MSP remarked:
“It’s very disappointing that it took a direct question in the Scottish Parliament to get any kind of acknowledgement from the First Minister about the importance of this project.”
The sea trials will monitor speed, manoeuvrability, power and propulsion as well as undertaking weapons trials and additional tests on her levels of readiness.
Admiral Sir Philip Jones First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff said:
“This is a hugely significant moment for the Royal Navy, for all our Armed Forces and for our island nation. Once in service HMS Queen Elizabeth will be the largest aircraft carrier in the world outside the United States, and the first designed from the outset to operate a fifth generation aircraft.
Already this ship represents the best of the UK’s industrial and engineering expertise, and once in service she will symbolise our military power and authority in the world for decades to come. There is still much work to do between now and then, but be in no doubt: a new era of British maritime power is about to begin.”
The operation to move the vessel out of the basin was performed by a fleet of tugs and attracted significant public interest as well as statements from many parties and organisations.