PICTURE SPECIAL: Britannia begins to tilt as it takes on water


FIRFIGHTERS were called to pump water off the Royal Yacht Britannia after it started tilting during an operation to move it to a dry dock.

The ship was due to be moved from its berth outside Edinburgh’s Ocean Terminal to Leith Harbour to allow repainting of the hull.

But broken door seal caused water to leak into the ballast chamber, which keeps the boat upright, causing the vessel to list to its starboard side

Britannia officials discovered the leak at around 9.30am today as they went to change the ballast levels after noticing the ship was listing.

Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue are having to pump the water from the ship manually as the electricity supply had been turned off in preparation for the move.

Bob Downie, Royal Yacht Britannia Trust chief executive, said: “When we were removing the mooring ropes this morning the ship moved four degrees to starboard.

“This meant that new access watertight doors to our pontoons were below the water level.

“There has been a leak in the seals in those doors which was accentuating the list.

“Because we have limited shore power, we asked the fire brigade to provide us with some assistance in correcting the ship’s ballast.

“This has caused a delay in the process. Britannia has been secure at all times and we hope to continue the move to dry dock later today or tomorrow.”

It is the first time the former Royal yacht has been moved from Ocean Terminal Edinburgh in almost 14 years.

It is due to reopen to the public on 1 February following maintenance work.

Britannia was built at John Brown’s shipyard in Clydebank and was launched in April 1953.



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