HMS Prince of Wales leaving Portsmouth Naval Base for the US 27082022 CREDIT BFBS
The 65,000-tonne warship received a warm send-off from thousands when it departed on Saturday afternoon.
QE-class aircraft carriers

HMS Prince of Wales returning to waters near Portsmouth after breaking down

HMS Prince of Wales leaving Portsmouth Naval Base for the US 27082022 CREDIT BFBS
The 65,000-tonne warship received a warm send-off from thousands when it departed on Saturday afternoon.

HMS Prince of Wales is set to come closer in to shore after technical problems forced the ship to stop off the south of the Isle of Wight.

The Royal Navy aircraft carrier had only been at sea a day before an "emerging mechanical issue" led to it breaking down off the south coast, shortly after embarking for exercises in the US.

According to the Queen's Harbour Master in Portsmouth, HMS Prince of Wales will head into the Solent – the stretch of water between the Isle of Wight and Hampshire before mooring overnight in the calmer water of Stokes Bay, off Gosport.

The waters of the Solent and Stokes Bay, in particular, are much calmer than the English Channel, which it has been suggested, could be a help to any diving operations, if they are needed.

An update was posted to the Royal Navy's official Twitter addressing the "issues" with HMS Prince of Wales since leaving her home port of Portsmouth.

The Royal Navy said: "We are in the process of moving her to a different anchorage which is better suited to allow for further inspection of the ship.

"Right now our focus is on the ship and our people; everyone is working hard to understand the problem and what can be done next," the service added.

Earlier a Royal Navy spokeswoman said: "HMS Prince of Wales remains in the South Coast Exercise Area while conducting investigations into an emerging mechanical issue."

The vessel's departure had earlier been delayed from Friday because of a technical issue.

The Royal Navy was not able to offer any further details or confirm if the earlier technical issue was related to the mechanical problem.

The £3bn carrier had a colourful send-off as it departed on Saturday afternoon and passed thousands of music-lovers at the Victorious music festival on Southsea Common in Portsmouth.

Pop act Sugababes were in the middle of their set when the giant ship sailed past with the crew lining the flight deck to get a view of the festival.

The NATO flagship is sailing to undertake training exercises with the US Navy as well as the Royal Canadian Navy and United States Marine Corps.

The programme is expected to include exercises with the F-35B Lightning jets.

Watch: HMS Prince of Wales leaving Portsmouth on Friday for drone and fighter jet drills.

A Royal Navy spokesman said on Saturday: "HMS Prince of Wales will cross the Atlantic with her task group, ready to push the boundaries of un-crewed technology and the tactics used by the UK's two new Queen Elizabeth-class carriers.

"Along with notable port stops in New York, Halifax in Canada, and the Caribbean, the next three months will see the Prince of Wales task group work closely with US allies, operating F-35B jets and un-crewed systems which will define Royal Navy aviation of the future.

"With fleet flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth also set to deploy to the Mediterranean and Baltic this autumn at the heart of a potent Royal Navy task group, it will mean both UK aircraft carriers will be operating F-35B jets thousands of miles apart."