Portsmouth Harbour ready to welcome HMS Queen Elizabeth

Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin has announced that millions of metres of mud has now been dredged to clear way for Britain’s newest aircraft carrier to sail safely into her new home at Portsmouth Harbour.

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation awarded a contract to Boskalis Westminster to make room for the 65,000-tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth Carrier and her sister ship Prince of Wales two years ago.

Since the contract award, specialist dredging vessels have been busy removing 3,200,000 cubic metres of sediment – the equivalent of 1,280 Olympic swimming pools.

The wealth of artefacts uncovered, include eight cannons, an aircraft engine and 36 anchors.

Also recovered was an arsenal of old ordnance, ranging from bullets and cannonballs to a British torpedo. A German sea mine and five large bombs were found, before being made safe by the Royal Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal team.

Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin said: “Upgrading the future home of HMS Queen Elizabeth is another completed step in the carrier’s journey to becoming the nation’s flagship, ready to operate around the world and help keep us safe in a world of intensifying threats.

“The work to prepare for our naval future has unearthed objects from our naval past which are part of Portsmouth’s proud maritime history. More than £100 million has been invested in Portsmouth’s naval base to ensure that it is ready for the state of the art Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.”

Image © Wessex Archaeology

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