HMS Queen Elizabeth leaves dock for first time
She floats! These are the very first shots of HMS Queen Elizabeth, Britain's biggest warship, in the water of the huge basin at Rosyth.
After a two-day operation to flood the cavernous dry dock, tugs began the delicate task of moving the leviathan in her entirety for the first time at dawn today, 17 July 2014. There was just 2m clearance either side to manoeuvre the 65,000 tonne aircraft carrier. She has been moved to a neighbouring jetty to allow her fitting out to complete – and to allow HMS Prince of Wales to be constructed in the same dry dock, beginning in September 2014.
It took just three hours to complete the ‘float out’ – an operation which took place 13 days after Her Majesty the Queen officially named the vessel in a spectacular ceremony.
With HMS Queen Elizabeth safely moved, the following signal was sent to First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas to mark the milestone:
DIRECTOR SHIP ACQUISITION IS PLEASED TO INFORM YOU THAT HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH IS AFLOAT AND WEF 170630Z JUL 14 CLEAR OF ONE DOCK.
Members of the carrier’s 100-strong crew say watching this morning’s move truly brought home the size of the ship.
“It’s great to see the future flagship of the Navy afloat for the first time – and one step closer to her natural habitat,” said LET(WE) Tom Handley.
“For a brief period all the connections needed to build her have been removed and so you can get a real feel for the character and look of the ship for probably the first time.”
Teams will now continue to outfit the ship and bring her systems to life in preparation for sea trials in 2016.
Aerial footage of HMS Queen Elizabeth afloat in the tidal basin at Rosyth - video taken by HMS Gannet SAR Flight.
News item on this website with videos and images from the naming ceremony.
News item on this website with more images from the naming ceremony.