Three serving Royal Navy sailors have been fired after they were found to have been taking cocaine while on board nuclear submarine the HMS Vengeance, The Daily Record reported.
The trio was caught when cleaners called military police upon finding packets containing traces of the drug lying around their cabins.
As part of an inquiry, the submariners took a compulsory drug test for the class A substance by providing urine samples shortly after visiting a US military port in Florida in June, but failed it.
Although the other sailors are understood to have passed their CDTs, the three are alleged to be part of a larger group suspected of having abused drugs during the so-called “run ashore”.
As a Ministry of Defence spokesman put it, “the Royal Navy will not tolerate misuse of drugs by service personnel in any form or at any time. Any personnel caught taking drugs will be discharged”.
He added that the Naval Service maintains a comprehensive programme of compulsory random drug testing to provide the highest level of deterrence.
The sub, whose crew are considered to be most proficient and “top flight”, continued its highly-classified operations before returning to Faslane naval base at the mouth of the river Clyde, in Scotland.
According to a source cited by the Daily Record, drug busts are a rare event on submarines, as their crews are considered to be the best in their profession.
“The men would have been celebrating being off the boat for a short time but there’s celebrating and there’s taking Class A drugs while working on a vessel that carries nuclear missiles”, the source said, drawing a line, asserting that the brass had no choice but to give them their marching orders.
“They knew the risks if they were caught but their carelessness in leaving the packets lying around has raised some eyebrows”, the source continued, stressing that the Royal Navy has a zero-tolerance policy towards drug use.
The scandal surrounding the HMS Vengeance, the youngest of the UK’s Vanguard-class submarines, having entered service in 2001, comes shortly after seven sailors were given the sack from another Royal Navy sub, the HMS Talent, over taking the substance while on duty.