Big Lizzie goes sick: Royal Navy’s flagship aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth postpones sailing from Portsmouth base after crew members test positive for Covid-19
- Up to nine of the ship’s crew members have tested positive for coronavirus
- Around 100 further members of crew are isolating onboard and will be retested
- The vessel was due to set sail to work with a Nato task group of other warships
Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has postponed its sailing from Portsmouth Naval Base after a number of crew tested positive for Covid-19, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed.
Around 100 further members of crew are isolating onboard because they have been in contact with positive cases.
Infected crew members have been removed from the ship and will continue to isolate.
Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has postponed its sailing from Portsmouth Naval Base after a number of crew tested positive for Covid-19, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed
The £3 billion warship was set to leave Portsmouth Historic Dockyard this afternoon for training exercises but the departure was put on hold at the last moment.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman confirmed that ‘fewer than 10’ members of the 1,000-strong crew had tested positive for the coronavirus and had been taken ashore to be put into isolation in barracks.
Other sailors who had contact with their infected crew-mates will isolate on board the 65,000 tonne ship which is expected to leave Portsmouth as soon as Tuesday.
It is the second time the carrier has had to postpone its sailing after two crew members tested positive for Covid-19 in April.
The aircraft carrier, which is currently in Portsmouth, has postponed its sail for 24 hours after up to nine of its crew members tested positive for coronavirus
A Royal Navy spokesman said: ‘A small number of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s personnel have tested positive for Covid during routine preparation for sailing.
‘Those affected have been isolated and are working with the NHS Test and Trace system to ensure the virus does not spread further.
‘The crew will continue to follow appropriate health guidelines and the HMS Queen Elizabeth will depart once their status has been confirmed.’
The spokesman said that the decision when to sail would be left to the carrier’s commanding officer Captain Angus Essenhigh who will act on PHE guidance.
The carrier is expected to carry out training exercises at sea before returning to base for supplies ahead of departing for major international exercises including the embarkment for the first time of both US and UK F35 Lightning jets.
It is aiming to declare strike carrier capability later this year ahead of its first operational deployment in 2021.
Around 100 further members of crew are isolating onboard because they have been in contact with positive cases
Infected crew members have been removed from the ship and will continue to isolate
A number of British and American F-35B stealth jets will also be onboard the aircraft carrier in the largest cohort of jets seen on a British warship in more than a decade.
American aviators from the US Marine Corps arrived at RAF Marham last week to prepare for the role.
The Queen Elizabeth is due to deploy on her first operational mission early next year, which will she her travelling across the world.
Her sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, is expected to undertaker its maiden operational deployment in 2023.