Aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales returns to the sea after two leaks in five ...

The Royal Navy's newest aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales has returned to the sea after two leaks in five months and £3.3million-worth of repairs.

The ship - which cost £3billion to manufacture - was stranded in Portsmouth in December 2020 after thousands of gallons of sea water poured into the vessel's engine room for more than 24 hours and damaged the electrics.

The state-of-the-art ship was banned from setting sale until repairs were made, with defence minister Jeremy Quin revealing the fix would cost £3.3million.

It marked the second leak for the 65,000-tonne ship - which was due to depart for the US to carry out tests with the F-35 stealth jets - in less than a year. The engine room had already been flooded to the depth of 3ft during a leak in May. 

It was later revealed that the carrier had spent just 87 days at sea during its first two years in service.

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But today, the hard-hit vessel set sail shortly after 3.30pm on Friday to carry out a two-week war game exercise around the UK. 

The Royal Navy's newest aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales has returned to the sea (pictured) after two leaks in five months and £3.3million-worth of repairs

The Royal Navy's newest aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales has returned to the sea (pictured) after two leaks in five months and £3.3million-worth of repairs

The ship (pictured setting sail on Friday) - which cost £3billion to manufacture - was stranded in Portsmouth in December 2020 after thousands of gallons of sea water poured into the vessel's engine room for more than 24 hours and damaged the electrics

The ship (pictured setting sail on Friday) - which cost £3billion to manufacture - was stranded in Portsmouth in December 2020 after thousands of gallons of sea water poured into the vessel's engine room for more than 24 hours and damaged the electrics

The state-of-the-art ship (pictured setting sail on Friday) was banned from setting sale until repairs were made, with defence minister Jeremy Quin revealing the fix would cost £3.3million

The state-of-the-art ship (pictured setting sail on Friday) was banned from setting sale until repairs were made, with defence minister Jeremy Quin revealing the fix would cost £3.3million

It marked the second leak for the 65,000-tonne ship (pictured setting sail today) - which was due to depart for the US to carry out tests with the F-35 stealth jets - in less than a year. The engine room had already been flooded to the depth of 3ft during a leak in May

It marked the second leak for the 65,000-tonne ship (pictured setting sail today) - which was due to depart for the US to carry out tests with the F-35 stealth jets - in less than a year. The engine room had already been flooded to the depth of 3ft during a leak in May

It was later revealed that the vessel (pictured setting sail on Friday) had spent just 87 days at sea during its first two years in service

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It was later revealed that the vessel (pictured setting sail on Friday) had spent just 87 days at sea during its first two years in service

Today, the hard-hit vessel (pictured setting sail on Friday) set sail shortly after 3.30pm on Friday to carry out a two-week war game exercise around the UK

Today, the hard-hit vessel (pictured setting sail on Friday) set sail shortly after 3.30pm on Friday to carry out a two-week war game exercise around the UK

Timeline of problems aboard HMS Prince of Wales

January 2019: 100 sailors were forced to leave the ship and spend the night on HMS Queen Elizabeth, the vessel's sister ship, after the aircraft carrier suffered a power cut in Portsmouth harbour

May 2019: Ship flooded to the depth of 3ft after a water leak in the engine room. A video posted on Facebook showed water gushing through the ceiling and flooding an entire room of the warship

Early December 2019: Flooding wrecked the vessel's vital electrical systems. Engineers assessed miles of cables inside the vessel after the incident left the aircraft carrier's electrical cabinets submerged underwater

May 2021: The vessel is expected to finally leave Portsmouth 

HMS Queen Elizabeth also suffered a leak last July, causing a large quantity of water to pour from a pipe and to flood through several decks. 

In 2017, HMS Queen Elizabeth also faced multi-million pound repairs after it was discovered that a faulty seal on a propeller shaft was letting in 200 litres of sea water an hour. 

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HMS Prince of Wales and its sister ship HMS Queen Elizabeth make up part of the UK’s Carrier Strike Group designated CSG21.

Both are heading to the far East to visit 40 countries, The News, Portsmouth reports.

The vessels can be pressed into action for various work such as high intensity war fighting or providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief. 

HMS Queen Elizabeth also suffered leaks in 2017 and 2019, with the former costing several million pounds to repair. 

Mr Quin said an additional £2.2million was spent ensuring both ships would not leak again. 

In May 2020, the Royal Navy launched an investigation after a pipe leaked on HMS Prince of Wales and caused an ankle-high flood.  The leak was said to have taken place on the carrier while it was at Portsmouth Naval Base.

A video later posted on Facebook showed water gushing through the ceiling and flooding an entire room of the warship.  

It is understood that the pipe was isolated quickly and the water was soon mopped up by the crew on board. 

The Royal Navy later said it was testing its safety systems including the deployment of life rafts and emergency chutes following the flood.

A Royal Navy spokesman said at the time: 'Following a minor issue with an internal system on HMS Prince of Wales, the ship's company were required to remove a small volume of water from the ship. 

'An investigation into the cause is now under way but this will not affect the ship's programme.'      

Then, in December that year another leak occurred, with a Royal Navy spokesman saying: 'HMS Prince of Wales is alongside at HMNB Portsmouth conducting repairs following a flood in an engine room.

'The ship's company are getting ready to sail for further training and trials in 2021.'

HMS Prince of Wales (pictured setting sail on Friday) and its sister ship HMS Queen Elizabeth make up part of the UK¿s Carrier Strike Group designated CSG21

HMS Prince of Wales (pictured setting sail on Friday) and its sister ship HMS Queen Elizabeth make up part of the UK’s Carrier Strike Group designated CSG21

HMS Prince of Wales (pictured setting sail on Friday) is heading to the far East to visit 40 countries along with its sister ship HMS Queen Elizabeth

HMS Prince of Wales

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