One of the Royal Navy’s most advanced warships has been forced to abandon a mission to the Gulf after breaking down.
HMS Diamond had problems with a propeller that could not be fixed at sea despite the efforts of sailors on board. The £1 billion Type 45 destroyer had been two months into a nine-month deployment.
It is now heading now to join the navy’s five other destroyers which are all in Portsmouth due to maintenance, a shortage of sailors and problems with the engine, which struggles in warm water.
HMS Diamond in Portsmouth. The £1 billion ship is one of the navy’s most advanced vessels
The warship is now heading home from a Nato deployment in the Gulf
The warship was two months into a nine month deployment when it experienced propeller problems
All six of the Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyers are now confined to Portsmouth for repairs and modifications as well as staff shortages
This means that Britain will be unable to perform a long-running commitment to provide reassurance to allies in the Gulf region, a rare occurrence for the navy.
The navy has no other ships that can do the mission, including among a fleet of 13 Type 23 frigates, that is ready to sail to replace HMS Diamond, The Times reported.
A navy website reported the ship had been due to ‘be working with international and Nato allies to protect some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, keeping them free from criminal activities’.
The crew of HMS Diamond had already experienced an interruption in their deployment.
On its way to the Gulf, HMS Diamond replaced fleet flagship HMS Ocean in the Mediterranean which was sent to the Caribbean to help with hurricane relief
The warship was in the Gulf to protect some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and keep them free from criminal activities
The navy has no other ships that can do the mission in the Gulf, including among a fleet of 13 Type 23 frigates
Last year MPs were told the Type 45 destroyers’ engines could not cope with the warm water
A week after leaving Portsmouth, the ship led by Commander Ben Keith, was diverted to relieve the navy’s HMS Ocean in the Mediterranean.
The fleet flagship which was deployed on a Nato maritime operation, was sent to deliver hurricane relief to British overseas territories in the Caribbean.
HMS Ocean returned in October and Diamond to sail on towards the Gulf but within days the propeller problem halted the mission.
A navy spokesman said: ‘We can confirm HMS Diamond has experienced technical issues but we do not discuss the detailed materiel state of our operational ships and are unable to comment further.’
Last year MPs were told by defence chiefs the fleet of destroyers was breaking down because the ships’ engines could not cope with the warm waters of the Gulf.
Rolls-Royce executives also told the defence select committee that the engines had been built as specified but conditions in the Middle East were not ‘in line with these specs’.