Britain's New £3.1 Billion Warship HMS Queen Elizabeth Is Already Leaking

Britain's biggest ever warship, the new £3.1 billion ($4.2 billion) aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, has a leak and needs repairs, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on Tuesday (December 19).

The 65,000-tonne ship, hailed as Britain's most advanced military vessel and which was only officially commissioned by the queen two weeks ago, has an issue with a shaft seal which was identified during sea trials, the MoD said.

"This is scheduled for repair while she is alongside at Portsmouth," a Royal Navy spokesman said. "It does not prevent her from sailing again and her sea trials program will not be affected."

HMS Queen Elizabeth
An officer stands on the deck during the Commissioning Ceremony of the Royal Navy's aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, in Portsmouth, Britain December 7, 2017. Richard Pohle/Pool/Reuters

The Sun newspaper reported that the 280-meter (920-foot) warship was letting in 200 liters of water every hour and the fix would cost millions of pounds.

A defense source said the navy was aware the ship, which took eight years to build, had an issue when it was handed over by manufacturers and the Sun said the builders would have to foot the repair bill.

The Aircraft Carrier Alliance—a consortium including British engineering companies BAE Systems and Babcock, and the U.K. division of France's Thales—built the Queen Elizabeth and its sister aircraft carrier, the HMS Prince of Wales, as a part of a £6.2 billion project.

No one from the Aircraft Carrier Alliance was immediately available for comment.

HMS Queen Elizabeth
The British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is pulled from its berth by tugs before its maiden voyage, in Rosyth, Scotland, Britain June 26, 2017. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

"Every ship takes on water. That's why you have pumps," Chris Parry, former senior Royal Navy officer told Sky News.

"When you get a brand new car not everything's perfect, you have to send it back to the garage to get a few things tweaked. This is exactly in that bracket."

On Tuesday, parliament's defense committee raised questions about the procurement of the F-35 fighter jets from a consortium led by Lockheed Martin which will eventually operate from the Queen Elizabeth.

Royal Navy
The Royal Navy's new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives in Portsmouth, Britain August 16, 2017. Peter Nicholls/File Photo/Reuters

The committee said there had been an "unacceptable lack of transparency" about the program and the MoD had failed to provide details of the full cost of each aircraft which one newspaper had estimated could be as much as 155 million pounds.

"Our new aircraft carrier is the epitome of British design and dexterity, at the core of our efforts to build an Armed Forces fit for the future," British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said at the Queen Elizabeth's commissioning.

Royal Navy
Police officers stand guard in a rigid inflatable boat (RIB) as the Royal Navy's new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives in Portsmouth, Britain August 16, 2017. Peter Nicholls/File Photo/Reuters