Royal Navy ship ‘suffers £100k damage as hole torn in hull as it docked in dark’

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A Royal Navy warship reportedly suffered a tear in its hull when it slammed into a companion vessel while docking at a base in the Middle East.

The 200ft HMS Chiddingfold is said to have twice collided with HMS Penzance as the captain tried to dock the warship in the dark for the first time.

The Navy blaming “wind, tide and equipment failure” for the March 16 incident at the UK’s naval base in Bahrain.

The Gulf-based minehunter had a hole in its glass-reinforced plastic hull and the damage was estimated at £100,000, it is reported.

The Hunt-class ship is now said to be out of service for months while it undergoes repairs.

Portsmouth-based HMS Chiddingfold launched in October 1983 and is currently operating out of the Middle East to protect essential routes and sea lanes used for shipping.

The main purpose of the ship is to find and destroy mines and lost explosives from past conflict.

It sailed to the Gulf with HMS Penzance – the ship it collided with – last year for a three-year deployment.

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A hole was torn in Chiddingfold’s glass-reinforced plastic hull.

The report claims it was the captain’s first attempt at docking the ship in the dark.

It is understood the commanding officer has “extensive experience” in the operation of Hunt-class ships and “extenuating circumstances” were to blame.

A source claimed to the Sun: “He slammed her into reverse, but it was too late. Chiddingfold’s side hit HMS Penzance.

“She swung out and hit her again.”

A Royal Navy spokesman said: “Repairs to HMS Chiddingfold will take place during the maintenance period she returned to Bahrain for.

“Our other ships in the region continue to carry out their duties as usual and there is no impact to operational commitments.

“Whilst this berthing incident is under investigation, early indications are that a combination of wind, tide and equipment failure frustrated attempts for HMS Chiddingfold to remain clear of another Minehunter.”

HMS Penzance remained seaworthy following the incident.