HMS Queen Elizabeth was due to return for planned maintenance later this week but came home early as a “precautionary measure”.

The issue appears to be relatively minor although that isn’t likely to stop people blowing this out of proportion.

A Royal Navy spokesperson said regarding the issue:

“Following a minor issue with an internal system, the ship’s company were required to remove a small volume of water from the ship. An investigation into the cause is underway. HMS Queen Elizabeth has had a minor issue relating to water from an internal system. At no point was there damage or breach to the hull.

The issue was isolated as soon as possible and all water has now been pumped out.

The ship, which was due to return to Portsmouth for a planned maintenance period later in the week, is now returning earlier than planned. This is a precautionary measure and the cause of the issue is now under investigation.”

Later in the year, 617 Squadron will embark on HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time. The UK jets will conduct Operational Tests, alongside 17 Test and Evaluation Squadron, onboard the carrier in the USA during the WESTLANT 19 deployment, proving their capability at sea.

Admiral Tony Radakin CB ADC, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, said:

“It’s great to see our F35B Lightning jets already proving themselves on operations so early in their life cycle, ably demonstrating the fantastic capability these world-leading aircraft offer. This Autumn, our aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth will return to the East Coast of the United States to conduct Operational Trials with our Lightning Force, taking this 5th generation capability to the next level as they prove their ability to operate from the sea.

For decades to come, this exciting new combination of aircraft carriers and F35B Lightnings will provide a potent, globally deployable carrier strike capability, a powerful conventional deterrent and the centrepiece of our country’s expeditionary forces.”

The MoD say that this is vital step on the path to the first Carrier Strike Deployment planned for 2021.

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This shouldn’t even be news. Machines all get faults. Unless it’s something major that affects our security ie the ship has to be laid up for two years for repairs I don’t need to know.
We don’t publish when a tank breaks down or my car fails it’s MOT!
This is not a go at you George, as I know it was published elsewhere and that you like to debunk false or exaggerated stories.


T.S , totally agree. If you watch any TV documentary about ships(merchant or military) they will occasionally have mechanical hiccups. That’s why they have engineers as part of the crew.
Part of the problem in this country is we have organisations like the left wing BBC who are negative towards the armed forces.


I’ve just read the BBC article and to be honest it does seem fairly balanced. There will now be hundreds of thousands of people in the UK who now know we actually have an aircraft carrier which can’t be a bad thing. The reporter has tried. I will be more impressed if the BBC manage a balancing article when the ship leave port with everything fixed. Will such an article be dumped because the editor believes that the license fee payers only wants to hear bad news…


For those who criticize the BBC News/editorial, it really is head and shoulders above almost any other English language broadcaster anywhere. No one is saying there isn’t bias somewhere within the org on an individual level, but try many other broadcasters who are OPENLY INSTITUTIONALLY bias and OPENLY have political agendas. Try the total lack of balance between NBC/CNN and Fox/One America in the US. The way presenters and journalists actually salivate at breaking stories that suit their agenda and set aside hours of micro-political analysis whilst ignoring bigger stories elsewhere. I accept the BBC may be pro-establishment, but I… Read more »


Clearly you have a very broad view of far right.
Now their was a time I considered the BBC relatively unbiased (at least when not talking about the UK’s domestic issues) but that’s been decades, ever since their constant harping on anything to the right of the UK’s Conservative party as being far right. Note most Tory MPs are to the left of Democrats much less Republicans so this makes their point of view skewed.


yes perhaps I do. The Republicans consider the democrats left wing because 1. They want to introduce free, comprehensive health care, 2. They want some modicum of gun control and 3. They believe in climate change and want to do something about it. All 3 things are pretty much standard practice for the rest of the “developed world” and “the west”. These are not remotely left wing ideals anywhere else except for America. The Republican far right is evil, repugnant, repulsive.

David E Flandry

So disagreement with the three standard positions is evil, repugnant, repulsive? Interesting.


Trump derangement syndrome at its worst.


So not wanting to pay for social and economic parasites is evil? Not wanting a totalitarian government authority to tell me what property I may possess, especially when it is protected by the Constitution and necessary for self-defense is repugnant? Not wanting to have green and purple haired university students set environmental and economic policy is repulsive? News flash Republicans created the EPA and the National Park system. The difference is between expensive overreaching knee jerk radicalism and measured, considered responses.

andy reeves

are they racist as well?


A lot of the tory right are relatively far right by UK standards. Comparing them to democrats/republicans isn’t a helpful comparison as US seems to have such a paranoia about “the left”, i.e. Public health care being some socialist communist nightmare despite it being wide spread in the Western world. The BBC as Julian has said is infinitely more impartial than any number of channels. The slating their documentary last night gave the labour party and the supposed marxist Corbyn, suggests the BBC are equally happy to challenge the left and right in the UK. The BBC continually has the… Read more »


Good posts Robert and Julian You’re absolutely right Robert, remember a few months back when the US “conservative” commentator Ben Shapiro was on Daily Politics and was getting questioned about his anti-abortion stance, Andrew Neil, hilariously was called a “leftist” and Ben Shapiro stormed off like a little “snowflake” (as he calls people who are easily offended) because he did not like the questions. Andrew Neil replied “if you only knew how ridiculous that sounded you wouldn’t say it” He obviously went online and on his twitter feed, did a bit of homework then offered this.. “@afneil DESTROYS Ben Shapiro!… Read more »


The point is that Labour and it’s leadership and it’s Corbynite members are anti Semitic and are pro anti-Israel. The BBC are not original in that… the BBC cannot (yet) airbrush out pictures of Corbyn shaking hands with IRA leaders. The issue is that the BBC are institutionally insidiously pro left wing. In exposing Momentum and Seamus Milne etc the BBC supports the broad left and its liberal causes. Its often prejudicial in its treatment of the right and gives many platforms for those who wish to attack the right.


Ridiculous to say the BBC want to airbrush anti-semitism in the labour party. By the same argument the fact they’ve not done a panorama on Islamophobia in the tory party must make the BBC right wing right? A platform against the right? Jan ’13 – Feb’ 18 ever MEP who appeared on Question Time was UKIP or Tory. Seems a great platform for the right wing MEP. Yes that’s one examppe and there are examples of the reverse. But this whole idea that the BBC is some big organisation puttung down the poor right wing is daft. Individuals within the… Read more »


“BBC supports the broad left and its liberal causes”

What liberal causes do you disagree with the BBC on Trevor? Free healthcare, women’s rights? LGBT rights? Workers rights?


“In exposing Momentum and Seamus Milne etc” Seumas** Milne has not been exposed of anything, that show was a hatchet job, they had taken his reply to an email totally out of context. Former disputes head Sam Matthews specifically asked Seumas Milne for his view. Milne’s comment on ‘muddling up political disputes with racism’ concerned cases involving Jewish members – one of whom was the son of a Holocaust survivor. The entire email is online for anyone to see. “The point is that Labour and it’s leadership and it’s Corbynite members are anti Semitic and are pro anti-Israel.” The Seumas… Read more »

andy reeves

as long as the BBC can expect, rather than earn the massive amount of money it gets every year, then quality control is hardly important i’ve thought for a while that the whole budget for the bbc to be reassessed.




I think if this news story is accurate, it certainly is news worthy. “A source has told Forces News that a high-pressure seawater pipe burst, letting more than 200 tonnes of water into the ship. That caused flooding on several decks, which our source says put three people at risk of drowning. All people on board the ship are safe but a mental health support team has been stood up. The high-pressure burst is understood to have buckled a stairwell, bent some bulkheads and split some deck-plates on the carrier.” (taken from Fingers crossed though its a quick fix… Read more »


If your detail s accurate, then it strikes me that the whole thing is being played down as this suggests the problem was not as minor as portrayed. I accept these things happen and it shouldn’t be blown out of proportion but its also a bit more than a “precautionary measure.” Reminds me of a friend who had his house flooded because the high pressure hose on the back of his washing machine was loose.


Oh dear Mate. I dared to mention a False News Story a few days ago and got the Sadly Predictable Keyboard Warrior response. Love this site. Full of Know It All Cocks. Pissing myself reading some of the replies, Specially from Chris H. Mental Issues or what.


I think you are the one with mental issues, your sole purpose on here seems to be trying to annoy people. There was a guy who posted here called “captain p wash” he wrote with most of his words with a capital letter as well, he cried like a baby when anyone “downvoted” his posts, he started accusing everyone of being in some mad conspiracy against him, he called them the “downvoters” The guy was a complete loon and seemed a very sad and lonely individual, he was begging the admin for an email address so he could “complain” then… Read more »


That’s the trouble with leaving the tap running!


Media looking for problems and blowing them out of proportion to sell clicks and advertising. It’s frankly impressive how little problem there has been with this first of type ship. Go and have a chat to the yanks about the Gerald R Ford if you want a true comparison of where we are.

Nigel Collins

“The MoD say that this is vital step on the path to the first Carrier Strike Deployment planned for 2021.”

Rather than focusing on a leak, perhaps the BBC and others might turn their attention to the lack of available personnel, slow build rates, and up arming our current fleet in time for 2021.


“US to enlist military allies in Gulf and Yemen waters”


That wouldnt fit their agenda though.

Oliver Goodwin

As the article states, the papers will surely blow this out of proportion. She’s the first in the class and it would be totally unreasonable to expect everything to run smoothly out of the box. I’m sure these problems will be ironed out before she sets sail for the US, and I have faith that POW will have the necessary measures to prevent this from happening again. Almost a non-issue as far as I’m concerned.


Nearly all first of class vessels have issues, and they all vary in cost and time.
The Ford-class had its magnetic cat, lift, sanitation issues to name only a few.
Then you had the Charles de Gaulle, which was absolutely plagued with major issues over many years, rudder vibration, screw issues, radiation…not to mention massive overrun costs.
Water ingress is commonplace on any vessel, from seals/glands, saltwater strainers, valves, flangers…QE class appear to be relatively successful at this early stage, and hopefully, this recent issue is nothing more than a minor maintenance fix.


As a pipefitter by trade a minor maintenance fix is a leaky valve or gland not 200 ton of water crashing down through the decks,god knows what that has done to the electrical systems on board, i have learned in my last 40 odd years of working with the MOD,and it has got worse in the last 10 years or so, is not to take everything they say at face value.


Whilst I agree this looks like a minor issue at first – the fact that they are returning to port gives some concern for a number of reasons: 1. If it’s a nothing leak that can be rectified at sea…then why return to port? 2. Then maybe it’s actually a ”something” leak that has had an impact on critical machinery and systems – and therefore is more of an issue than is being admitted. I don’t like this attitude of running to port each time their is a minor issue – they should be developing the ability to operate at… Read more »

Robert Blay

I think the Navy knows what it is doing don’t you?


From some one who was in for over 3 decades I have to say…No…No they dont!


Exactly mate. think HMS Invincible, (WW1) HMS Hood, (WW2), HMS Coventry, (Falklands) and a fair few dozen others too. Bit of a stupid comment from one Robert Blay when all things and lost lives are considered.

Robert Blay

I served for 14 years, and not once did they run back to port unless they really had to. And being a first of class under trials around the UK, why risk staying out. Hopefully it will be a quick-ish fix, and she can get underway again.


History suggest’s not. Robert, Not all the time.




But when you can go to port why not!


They were due to come in to port anyway over the next few days so this was just returning slightly earlier. That’s a sensible precaution.

Also in order to effect a permanent repair they may need to be alongside, by coming in early it may mean that they are able to complete any repairs without having to delay their Atlantic crossing for Westlant 19.

Robert Blay

Typical of the BBC to be on the ball when there is somthing negative to report about defence, they didn’t rush to report anything positive about Armed Forces day.

Alex T

All that can really be expected from the Biased Broadcasting Corporation, wouldn’t you agree?

Robert Blay

Oh yes ?


Why pick on the BBC? this is being reported by many media outlets, and why publish anything about Armed forces day?


The BBC report ( is so bad!

Not only do they leap on this issue to create a negative story but they then tail-end the report by digging up absolutely every other past negative report that they can think of without putting even one positive thing in such as all the successful tests, numerous successful helicopter types plus first F-35B trials, probably quite a few areas where performance on sea trials comfortably exceeded minimum requirements etc. They even dug up the ex captain’s alleged misuse of an MoD car to throw in with all their other negativity. Unbelievable!


It’s a pity they haven’t reported on the continuing air trials she was conducting off the coast. Ok, they weren’t F35s but Chinooks, so probably not so glamorous.


If its a minor issue, why has it returned to port ?

Steve R

Depending on the issue it could be standard procedure. Minor issues, if left unchecked, could become major ones down the line.


Hi Geoff-this is geoff just to clarify we are two different people in case either of us says something outrageous and the wrong Geoff gets insulted!!
Regards geoff(Durban)

Geoffrey Hicking

Hello Geoff and geoff! (I’m sure there’s a “geoffrey” somewhere around here as well!)


Haha Geoffrey. At least we all spell it the PROPER way 🙂


Because She Is conducting, Sea Trials and she Is letting the Sea In. What In Your expert opinion and Superior Experience, would you do with a £3.5 Billion Air Craft Carrier. ?


Possible storm in a teacup?

Steve Martin

This is being reported…

TL;DR 200 tonnes of sea water leaked across several decks apparently.


You are right this does not sound like a minor incident like earlier reports stated

Nigel Collins

“The high-pressure burst is understood to have buckled a stairwell, bent some bulkheads and split some deck-plates on the carrier.”

Just a tad serious in that case.


If this was a cruise liner though the passengers would be insisting that they continue on to Barbados.


Without knowing on what system the leak was its hard to say if this is an issue or not. From my experience if its a split pipe it is repairable(temporarily) onboard using Stopit Leak stopper , a TEEKAY pipe clamp or if your old school a sheet of rubber and a rope lashing over the top. If its a TEEKAY pipe connector that has let loose then it should be fixable. If its a valve that has gone then besides isolating the system there is little you can do except replace the valve and they will not have a spare… Read more »

Steve Martin

I think you should go on the news explaining these things. Top notch!


As you point out, she was due in soon anyway and was only off the UK coast,
similar to her stopping off at Invergordon.

Much easier to be alongside and pass it over to BAE.

From the wording, It hardly evokes images of wedges, mattresses, cement boxes…abandon ship!!


The MOD smoke screened the issue with the props. The actual issue was that One of the blades on the hub was loose because it had not been installed correctly. There was a team of divers working 24/7 trying to remedy that little cock up.


From forces TV,

‘The high-pressure burst is understood to have buckled a stairwell, bent some bulkheads and split some deck-plates on the carrier.’


Thats the bit that concerns me, what are the bulkheads made from, sheet metal? As far as I am aware and please Gunbuster or anyone else correct me if I am wrong a bulkhead is a structual part of the ship designed to make the ship more ridgid, splits the ship into sections to contain flooding whilst holding back water if a compartment is flooded. They are basicaly the last line of defence for the ship in case of water getting in. If 200-250 tons of water can damage a bulkhead and apparantly some steel deck plates then what are… Read more »


Metal bulkheads in a ship will undergo plastic deformation when a load is applied to one side of them. Modern warships don’t use the same sort of steel as WWI and WWII vessels, current warships use relatively thin steel plates on external hull plates and even thinner on internal bulkheads. The days of amour plate are long gone and nowadays bolt on Kevlar plate is used to protect areas from damage. If a bulkhead is deforming then you use Proud and Breast shores to support it and to stop it collapsing until you can remove the water. Military vessels carry… Read more »


And once to port there will be a 2 week enquiry followed by a 100 page report before a spanner is touched in anger.

One question is when were these piped etc fitted… Years ago? Are there workmanship and investigation/testing issues? I hope this is just a one off. Equally is there a problem with a maintenance regime? Hope not. Let’s not forget this is a big big ship, not a little frigate. The RN have never had to manage a ship as big as this, not by a long long way.


Ships always have minor leaks and engineering issues, they only return to port if there is a real risk. QE is probably one of the safest vessels out there (Warships are uncompromising in their designed ability to stay afloat even in extremis). Which means this was not minor. They have also put some interesting smoke screens in there, like no damage or breach to the hull, look how Endurance was nearly lost.

Martin S

Sounds like FOST is getting a bit too real!


UPDATE-A long Read but My thoughts regarding the latest updates on the incident.And this is with my (former) NBCDQ 35 damage control and fire fighting instructor and trainer head on… The sea water fire main on a FF/DD is going to be pressurised at around 7-8 bar(120 PSI ish) I assume its the same or possibly higher on QE. 200-250 M3 or 200-250 tonnes of water is a lot of water. Thats a cube 8x8x3 . That is a large compartment (Not including machinery spaces or magazines) in any ship. A minor incident? Any flood where you immerse a compartment… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Thank you for this.


Thanks for that, nothing like experiance and nostalga to get the information across in a way that we all understand.
It looks like a couple of weeks to put that right, hope none of the E5 data, comms cables were damaged as some cannot be spliced so they will need to be then replaced along its whole lenght.
By the way water temp in the UK at the moment is a cool 15 degs C good for diving in your dry suit.


15 degs brrrrrr….
My AC is set on 24 degs and the outside air temp was mid 40s yesterday… Which is nice….


Why didn’t she pop into Devonport to get fixed?she has been sat off the Breakwater for weeks,oh i forgot,they built her so that she is to big to get around Devils Point and Cremyl.what a dozy thing to do.


Devonport probably hasn’t been dredged deep enough to allow her to come in and didn’t the same sort of thing happen during her test cruise before sea trials with a high level sea water pipe rupturing and water building up behind the roof lagging before bursting out over several decks?


It was bad enough trying to get Ocean/Bulwark/Albion in and out of Western Mill. I would be having kittens doing specials on the bridge of a carrier trying to do that manoeuvre.


Berth her at number 6 wharf where the old Ark Royal tie up.


Just done some further checking Some of the pipework on QE was installed using GRE (Its like Glass fibre) and not the old standard CuNi metal pipework. Whilst its lightweight and reliable it is not as resilient as CuNi to surface damage. Scratches and gouges that can happen during everyday operation can weaken it. (Breathing Air Bottles on Fire Fighting BA sets are made from a similar material and any gouges deeper than a set standard write the bottle off for use. Most bottles now have a thick material bag over them to protect against such damage.) When GRE pipes… Read more »


The Titanic started with a minor leak


Leak or prep for early readiness? Potential smoke screen? Thoughts?