Prince’s Caribbean tour is plunged into chaos after vessel refuses to start
(Daily Mail- United Kingdom) Prince Harry was left stranded after the Navy ship he is travelling on broke down during his tour of the Caribbean.
The Prince was due to leave the island of St Vincent on Saturday evening and spend the night moored offshore but the ship, RFA Wave Knight, would not start.
Saturday was then meant to be a ‘travel day’, with the boat sailing on to the island of Grenada. The journey was meant to take six hours, with Harry and his party stopping for lunch on a deserted island on the way, and the Palace had allowed more than 24 hours for the trip, which is less than 100 miles by air. But their plans were plunged into chaos.
The group stayed on board in the hope that the ship could be re-started but yesterday afternoon they remained stranded. The Prince, 32, is spending a total of six days on the Royal Fleet Auxiliary boat during his 15-day tour of the Caribbean on behalf of the Queen.
RFA Wave Knight, a fast fleet tanker that entered Royal Navy service in 2003, developed an undisclosed ‘technical fault’ and engineers have been working round the clock to fix it.
The fifth in line to the throne was due to attend engagements on Grenada from 9am local time today and last night the palace was desperately trying to ensure that he would fulfil his commitments. If the ship cannot be restarted the team may have to charter a plane, which could cost thousands, and find hotels to stay in.
Harry is said to have loved his time so far on the vessel and enjoyed eating with the men on board. Food on offer includes poached eggs, Lancashire hot pot, meatballs and bread and butter pudding. The boat has no mobile phone signal when out at sea which has meant the prince has sometimes spent up to 20 hours without being able to contact his girlfriend, 35-year-old American actress Meghan Markle.
It is the second time in the space of a week that a Royal Navy ship has broken down while on duty. HMS Duncan visited Naval Base Devonport last weekend but within days of leaving had to be towed back to the port because of ‘technical issues’.
A spokesman for Kensington Palace said last night: ‘Today, day eight of the tour, was a designated travel day. The journey from St Vincent to Grenada was due to take six hours and the tour party planned to stop along the way for lunch.
‘Due to a technical problem, RFA Wave Knight was unable to leave St Vincent as planned. Prince Harry and the tour party remain in the country and went to a nearby island for a private afternoon.
‘Contingency plans are in place and there is no current expectation the second half of the tour will be impacted by the technical problem.’
A Royal Navy spokesman said: ‘RFA Wave Knight experienced a minor technical issue. This has not caused delay to the royal tour, or affected the operational commitments of the ship.’