Both Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers are to undergo “remedial work” to prevent a repetition of events that caused flooding damage to HMS Prince of Wales.

In May 2020, HMS Prince of Wales experienced flooding which the Royal Navy described as “minor”. This was followed by more significant flooding in October 2020 which caused damage to her electrical cabling.

Stephen Morgan, Shadow Minister for Defence, asked:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what progress his Department is making on repairing HMS Prince of Wales after its second flooding incident in October 2020; and if he will make a statement.”

Jeremy Quin, Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence, responded:

“HMS PRINCE OF WALES will return to sea in May 2021 to commence preparations for her next planned operational tasking. This underway period will take the form of activities in UK waters prior to her undertaking NATO Command duties in 2022.”

Discussing the recent repair efforts, Quin also said:

“Repairs of the damage caused by floodwater in the engine room of HMS PRINCE OF WALES are progressing as planned. The Ship’s Company is conducting concurrent preparations for their programme of at sea training activity in 2021 which precede her operational commitments.”

Additionally, he stated:

“Remedial work being conducted on both Queen Elizabeth Class Carriers to help prevent a repetition of this event is expected to cost £2.2 million.”

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Just wait for the mainstream media to overblow this story. I know leaky ships are an easy target and most will not understand the details of what is happening. My understanding is that this is down to issues with the high pressure fire fighting water ring mains of which there are more than one to provide resilience to battle damage. Given the complexity of these ships and the fact that they are the biggest warships ever built in the UK I think that overall they are shaping up to be successful and capable assets. After all there will only be… Read more »

Supportive Bloke

£2.2m indicates that it is not actually a lot of work to be done.

My **guess** is that this involves changing the connection bolts out for a higher grade.

I can’t think of anything else that could be done systematically on a ship of that scale that wouldn’t cost a whole lot more. I don’t see any of the more major components being changed for that sort of money given how many of them there will be.


The other story talks of over £3m hope that’s not 24 hour inflation


i think the £3m is to repair the damage done to pow while the £2.2m is for remedial work bringing the total to £5.5m,i am sure someone will correct me

Supportive Bloke

Yes, that is £1.1M each time fix all of the firemains in both ships.

£3.3M to fix the damage caused.


i know they are a new ship of its kind and yes things will and do go wrong,but who is footing the whole bill the taxpayer,or are the ships builders BAE etc going to contribute something ??

John Clark

Good question Andy…. Should be a “product recall” type of rectification, but it gets extremely complicated as some of the equipment will be government furnished and provided under separate contacts….


Yet to be defined. There will be warranty items, but the ship has been formally accepted off the builders and in service for a period of time. Unless this is explicitly down to poor workmanship it would be hard to pin on the builders. In a vessel as complex as this it could be something as simple as a poorly specced item, installed incorrectly or an unexpected failure of one small component that has led to strain being placed on the entire system. But the money involved points to this being something comparatively minor, with more testing and labour involved… Read more »

Supportive Bloke

The issue is that even if the spec was wrong it was done more than 6 years ago so the strict civil liability period is closed. Assuming the contract was signed under hand and not under seal.


If they’re saying that they’re taking corrective action on HMSQNLZ to prevent an occurrence of what happened on HMSPoW, I would expect that to be a warranty issue covered by the ship builder. Like a product recall on a car fault.


Sounds like not so much ‘warranty’ as ‘latent defect’ which, if it did exist (as opposed to somoone operating equipment outside of SOP as an example) could be a defect in design eng or a defect in build or a defect in equipment.

Sounds like its a design issue… But more info would be required.

Andrew Smith

These contract are very complicated. Wont be anything like a car. Every decision on spec is signed off by MOD. Every installation also


what happened to the pressure monitors and surely there was an hourly engine room watchkeeper?????

peter wait

They could have pressure tested fire main systems with Nitrogen at higher than working pressure. Think perhaps the valves were made with substandard steel because it was cheaper than British steel?


To me it sounds like one of three things, a seal has failed, bolts have failed or a valve has failed. This leads to BAE as I suspect they have tried to make do with the minimum strength capacity of bolt, seal, valve in the hope to save money. Was that not also done on the Titanic where iron bolts of a lower standard was used instead of the higher standard which cost more but more difficult to install? Somehow it reminds me of the old robber bolt issue. For those of you that don’t know it it is where… Read more »

Captain P Wash

Lol…… the bottom of POW has not fallen out though ……… Nor do we build them with with copper Bolts nowadays……. Lol……….. But I agree with your 300 years thing though.

4th watch

Should have been shock tested from start, then this would probably have been discovered then.


As some have commented, I can see this being overblown by the media – but the thing which drew my attention isn’t the flooding; it’s that flooding in the engine room seems to have done damage to electrical wiring requiring replacement… which just smacks of a QC issue; all of the fixings and materials in there must surely be rated for repeated exposure to seawater… so either costs were cut in a less than sensible area, or someone cut corners, used the wrong parts or didn’t follow the right procedures for installation. If they find those issues, the only reasonable… Read more »