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'Safety blunders and security lapses' plaguing nuclear submarines

Safety blunders and serious security lapses plaguing Trident submarines at Faslane are a disaster waiting to happen according to a nuclear weapons engineer.

As reported in todays Sunday Herald, submariner William McNeilly, who says he was on patrol with HMS Victorious from January to April this year, alleges that the Trident missiles it carries are vulnerable to a terrorist attack that would kill our people and destroy our land.

The whistleblower, who is now being hunted by police, has written a detailed 18-page report called The Nuclear Secrets, which claims to lift the lid on the alarming state of the UKs ageing and short-staffed nuclear deterrent. He has been absent without leave from the Royal Navy since last week.

Mr McNeillys report alleges 30 safety and security flaws on Trident submarines, based at Faslane on the Clyde. They include failures in testing whether missiles could be safely launched, burning toilet rolls starting a fire in a missile compartment, and security passes and bags going unchecked.

He told the Sunday Herald, My information comes from good sources and I have no reason to lie. If change isnt made, a nuclear catastrophe almost certainly will happen.

Commenting SNP Westminster Leader Angus Robertson said: These revelations, if true, are extremely concerning. It reads as a nightmare catalogue of serious safety breaches aboard and alongside these nuclear armed submarines. Shortages of suitably qualified safety personnel and regular fires aboard them are already public knowledge and these allegations add to what appears to be a chaotic, shambolic safety culture on these aged subs. Broken or faulty equipment with no spares leading to slapdash patch up jobs have no place in the navy and just shows how utterly stretched it is.

Shortages of all types of crew on these submarines has been well documented and the description of personnel in extremely stressful situations most be alarming given the huge responsibility some of these sailors are given.

Failure to follow standard safety procedures is unacceptable in any workplace but on a Vanguard submarine on patrol it could result in extreme tragedy not just for those on board but indeed for the entire planet.

“These old submarines are clearly an increased safety risk which lends even more weight to the argument of scrapping them all together.

The Ministry of Defence must immediately investigate, publicly explain all failings and lay out precisely what it is doing to rectify each and every one of them.

17 May