Britain’s biggest-ever warship, the 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, sailed into the Mersey on Thursday and berthed at Liverpool Cruise Terminal – see more pictures. Tony McDonough reports
HMS Queen Elizabeth, the biggest British warship ever built, arrived in the Mersey on Thursday afternoon and berthed at Liverpool Cruise Terminal.
By teatime crowds had flocked down to the Pier Head and Princes Parade to marvel at the 65,000-tonne Royal Navy aircraft carrier. It comes two years after its sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, arrived in Liverpool for a week-long visit.
Just across the river at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead, is where the flight deck, hangar and sections of accommodation for both vessels were built. They cost more than £3bn each to build and are full of the latest digital technology.
After leaving her home port of Portsmouth on March 10, HMS Queen Elizabeth headed out to sea to carry out vital training and exercises. The 280-metre long ship had been in for repairs since December.
She will remain in the Mersey until Monday, March 28, after which she is due to head to Glen Mallen on the Clyde in Scotland for a routine logistics visit. A controlled zone of 250m either side and an exclusion zone 800m ahead of the huge ship was enforced while she journeyed down the Mersey.
Ministry of Defence patrol craft will manage the zones during her stay. On Thursday there was a police presence both on Princes Parade and out on the river. Before arriving in the Mersey the ship had been out at sea working with commando-carrying Merlin helicopters from RNAS Yeovilton-based 846 Naval Air Squadron.
After leaving Portsmouth earlier this month, Captain Ian Feasey, Royal Navy, Commanding Officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth, said: “We return to sea today as the United Kingdom’s Very High Readiness Strike Carrier for routine operational activity and training.
“The hard work of both my ship’s company and our supporting industrial partners has improved the condition of the Fleet Flagship.”