Navy chiefs sent to probe sub scan­dal

Lennox Herald - - NEWS - Mikey Smith

Mil­i­tary chiefs have been sent to a nu­clear sub­ma­rine to deal with claims there was an “in­ap­pro­pri­ate re­la­tion­ship“be­tween two naval crew.

The cap­tain of the ves­sel, based at Faslane, has been re­lieved of his du­ties as the al­le­ga­tions are probed.

A Min­istry of De­fence spokes­woman would not con­firm the re­la­tion­ship be­tween a male and fe­male of­fi­cer but con­firmed that an in­ves­ti­ga­tion is un­der way, adding: “It would be in­ap­pro­pri­ate to say any­thing fur­ther.”

A se­nior min­istry source added that the in­ci­dent was a “duty of care” is­sue.

The iden­tity of the cap­tain of the sub­ma­rine is known but the de­ci­sion has been taken not to dis­close it.

It is be­lieved he could be stripped of his com­mand if the al­le­ga­tions are proven to be true.

When asked to com­ment on the al­le­ga­tions, he replied: “I’ve not got any­thing to say at the mo­ment.”

There is no sug­ges­tion the fe­male of­fi­cer has been sus­pended or com­mit­ted any wrong­do­ing.

In­ti­mate re­la­tion­ships of any kind on a war­ship or a sub­ma­rine are against Royal Navy rules.

Se­nior naval of­fi­cers have been sent to the ves­sel in in­ter­na­tional wa­ters to sort out the in­ci­dent.

Other crew were or­dered to delete their so­cial me­dia ac­counts in a bid to stop in­for­ma­tion about the al­le­ga­tions be­ing leaked.

The cap­tain, along with his sec­ond in com­mand, are the only of­fi­cers on board the sub with ac­cess to a grey safe which con­tains a “let­ter of last re­sort”. The let­ter is from the PM and con­tains guid­ance and or­ders to be fol­lowed should the UK be at­tacked with nu­clear weapons.

In 2014 Sarah West, the Navy’s first fe­male war­ship cap­tain, was re­leased from her com­mand of frigate HMS Port­land over an al­leged af­fair with a mar­ried of­fi­cer.

Both par­ties de­nied the claims dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Fig­ures re­leased by the MoD in Jan­uary re­vealed 57 serv­ing sub­ma­rine crew mem­bers faced claims of dis­obey­ing or­ders, as­sault, drink, drug and sex of­fences while with the nu­clear fleet within a year.

Among them was an able rat­ing first class who was charged with sex­ual of­fences.

Women were banned from serv­ing on sub­marines un­til the rules changed in 2011. Three years later three fe­male lieu­tenants be­came the first to join.

Home port The sub­ma­rine is based at Faslane

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