05:44 GMT04 December 2020
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    While the vessel was docked in Georgia, United States for maintenance. An officer reportedly staggered onto the nuclear-armed submarine drunk holding a bag of leftover barbecue chicken.

    A Royal Navy officer has been sent home from the US and placed under investigation after reporting to take command of a submarine's Trident nuclear missiles while drunk, the Scottish Sun reported.

    Lt Cdr Len Louw has now been placed under an inquiry at Faslane naval base in Scotland after colleagues raised concerns that he had been drinking.

    According to the report, co-workers reported the submariner's behaviour as "staggering drunk" when the weapons engineering officer arrived for work on HMS Vigilant last month.

    A BBC report claimed that the officer was drinking the previous night carried a bag of leftover chicken from a barbecue for his lunch into the vessel.

    "An investigation is under way therefore it would be inappropriate to comment further", a Royal Navy spokesman said.

    The spokesman said that when an individual's conduct "falls short of the high standards we expect, we won't hesitate to take the appropriate action".

    "While we don't comment on the detail, there are numerous safety checks and processes to protect the safety and use of weapons aboard all submarines", he added.

    The weapons engineering officer is responsible for overseeing the weapons and sensors onboard the ship.

    The £3bn vessel is one of Britain's four Vanguard-class submarines carrying up to eight Trident nuclear-armed warheads and was docked at a US naval base when the incident took place.

    While the HMS Vigilant is usually at Her Majesty's Naval Base Clyde at Faslane in Argyll and Bute, it was temporarily placed at Kings Bay facility in Camden County, Georgia in September as it underwent maintenance. 

    The incident is not the first time the HMS Vigilant's crew has been the subject of controversy. Earlier in October, more than 35 members of the submarine crew tested positive for the virus after reportedly going out to local bars and restaurants in Georgia where they were parked.

    In October 2017, a naval captain was relieved of his command of the submarine after he allegedly engaged in an "inappropriate relationship" with a female crew member.

    The same month, nine sailors on the ship were dismissed from the Royal Navy after failing drug tests for cocaine.

    Drunk, Georgia, nuclear weapons, Trident
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