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Royal Navy carrier sails for sea training

Ben Mitchell

By Ben Mitchell, PA

Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has set sail from anchor to carry out sea trials.

The 65,000 tonne warship left Portsmouth Naval Base at the end of April and has carried out a period of quarantine at sea.

The £3 billion vessel returned to anchor in Stokes Bay, off Gosport, Hampshire, last week while it made final preparations and took on board Flag Officer Sea Training (Fost) staff ready for a period of training at sea.

The ship set sail on Friday morning through the Solent, dwarfing the seaside town of Ryde on the Isle of Wight as it sailed past.

The carrier’s departure from Portsmouth Naval Base was delayed while its 700-strong crew were all tested for Covid-19.

Two members of the ship’s company tested positive and were removed and the ship was allowed to sail on April 29.

It is understood that all Fost staff and personnel involved in flight tests with the F35 Lightning jets who join the ship will be required to have completed a 14-day period of self-isolation.

A Royal Navy spokesman said: “She will undergo several weeks of training and assessment with the staff of Fost to ensure the UK can deliver on its commitment to have a Carrier Strike Group ready to deploy from the end of this year.”

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