THE Royal Navy’s newest warship has broken down at sea — days into her maiden voyage.
HMS Trent, a £100million patrol vessel, had to be dragged back into port after its engine failed.
The 90-metre warship was due to join a Nato mission hunting terrorists and people-traffickers but limped back to port on Thursday, lashed to a pair of tugs.
A source said: “This is like a brand new Range Rover Sport breaking down on the way home from the showroom.”
The River class vessel was commissioned on August 3 at a ceremony in Portsmouth and set sail the same day.
Six days later, she reached Gibraltar where she spent three days.
The problems started on Wednesday when she set sail a second time.
She was at sea for less than 12 hours when the crew encountered issues and the captain ordered her to turn back.
The source added: “Gibraltar was HMS Trent’s first ever port of call. She was on her way to eastern Med when something went wrong at sea.
“The captain turned her round. They managed to get back to the Bay of Gibraltar under their own steam but then they called out the tugs to help her into the harbour.
“Patrol vessels are nimble ships and it was a really calm day. She shouldn’t need tugs to berth.”
The Navy said the ship, built by BAE systems on the Clyde, had suffered a defect and was waiting for spare parts.
And a source insisted: “It was not a propulsion problem.”
Last year, the Navy’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth was forced back to port because she was leaking.
Its new £1billion destroyers have also been dogged by engine problems.
HMS Dauntless, a Type 45 destroyer, has spent only six days at sea since 2016 because it needed a major engine refit.
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