Royal Navy engineers are hoping to refloat the crippled warship HMS Nottingham exactly one year after it hit a rock in the Pacific Ocean and nearly sank.
The ship is to be refloated in Portsmouth
The Type 42 destroyer is currently undergoing £26m worth of repairs after running aground near Lord Howe Island, 200 miles off the coast of Australia, in the summer of 2002.
Plans to flood the dry dock in Portsmouth, Hampshire, where the work is being carried out, have been pencilled in for 7 July, the anniversary of the collision.
Major work would still need to be completed on the 3,560-tonne vessel and sea trials carried out before she returned to frontline duties.
A Ministry of Defence official said the date was a coincidence, adding: "The plan is to try to refloat her (on July 7) but it's still a massive
"It will be on or around that date."
The MOD said recently that it cost about £3m to bring HMS Nottingham back to the UK from Sydney, welded to the back of the Dutch-registered heavy lifting vessel MV Swan.
Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram told the House of Commons in January that
once repairs were completed, she will have cost the taxpayer £208m in
building, major refit, salvage and repairs.
Engineers from Fleet Support Services are working to replate Nottingham's hull after it was ripped open from bow to bridge on the well-charted Wolf Rock.
It is understood that once she is back in the water, she will move to a jetty at the south coast naval base for work inside the hull which is likely to last well into 2004.
A Royal Navy Board of Inquiry into what caused the collision has yet to report.