HMS Prince of Wales ground to a halt off coast of Isle of Wight as 'propeller shaft wasn't properly greased'

Fears of overheating rose as HMS Prince of Wales set sail

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The UK's new £3billion warship may have ground to a halt off the coast of Isle of Wight due to the propeller shaft not being greased properly, according to reports.

Naval sources now feel that the ship's breakdown on Saturday may have been caused by a lack of lubrication applied to the propeller shaft.

HMS Prince of Wales set sail to undertake training exercises with the US Navy and Marine Corps and the Royal Canadian Navy.

Any overheating due to friction on the 65,000-tonne vessel could have caused damage to the metal shift, sources have added.

HMS Prince of Wales ground to a halt shortly after setting sail.
HMS Prince of Wales ground to a halt shortly after setting sail.

It is believed that a period in a dry dock, likely to be in Rosyth, Scotland, will be required in order to have a proper look at the ship and carry out repairs.

A senior defence source told The Telegraph that any "significant damage to the starboard shaft" would prove a "major problem to fix".

Rear Admiral Steve Moorhouse, director of Force Generation, who is responsible for making sure Royal Navy ships are ready to deploy, has said HMS Prince of Wales might not be able to complete its mission to the US where it was to undergo flight trials with the F-35B Lightning jets.

He said in a video statement: “After the initial assessment, it’s likely that the fault will require repairs which may impact the ship’s programme.

“We’ve reacted quickly to the emergent defect and are working closely with industry partners to resolve this as soon as we can.

“Rest assured, the Royal Navy continues to meet its commitments to deliver operations and to keep the UK, our partners and allies safe.”

The carrier had been given a colourful send-off as it departed on Saturday afternoon and passed thousands of music-lovers at the Victorious Festival on Southsea Common in Portsmouth.

Pop favourites Sugababes were in the middle of their set when the giant ship sailed past with the crew lining the flight deck to get a view of the festival.