Trident Submarine Rigged Safety and Security, Royal Navy Whistleblower

Discussion in 'Naval Warfare' started by sorcerer, May 18, 2015.

  1. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2013
    Messages:
    6,203
    Likes Received:
    5,109
    Location:
    India
    Britain’s Nuclear Armed Trident Submarine: Rigged Safety and Security, Royal Navy Whistleblower


    Engineering failures on Trident submarine place crew at risk and raise doubts over whether missiles could actually be launched, says whistleblower.

    A Royal Navy whistleblower has exposed a shocking catalogue of equipment failures, security breaches, and near-miss accidents on board HMS Vanguard, one of the Navy’s nuclear-armed Trident submarines.

    William McNeilly, a 25 year old engineering technician, has published an account of a patrol on board HMS Vanguard on the internet (online here and available to download at the bottom of this article), describing in detail a series of alarming incidents and describing the submarine as being “in the worst of the worst condition”. His account not only puts safety standards in the Trident programme under the spotlight, but also brings into question HMS’s Vanguard’s ability to successfully fire its battery of missiles were the command to launch a nuclear attack ever given.

    McNeilly’s dossier – an account of his first patrol on board HMS Vanguard – reveals that the ageing submarine was dogged by equipment failures during the patrol. Safety procedures were regularly disregarded, security procedures were casual, and secret information was accessible to unauthorised personnel.

    He also alleges that safety proficiency exams were rigged and that, as a result of manpower shortages, key posts are filled with under-qualified staff.

    McNeilly says he has published the account in order to alert the public to the “shockingly extreme conditions that our nuclear weapons system is in right now”, giving a grim warning that “it’s only a matter of time before one of the Trident submarines are lost”. I tried to make the changes from within”, he says, but “I expressed my concerns too many times without any action being taking”. He believes that most of his colleagues know that “the Trident programme is a disaster waiting to happen, but they never tell the public”.

    McNeilly describes how, on his first time on board a Trident submarine, a group of trainees were taken into the control room and told not to touch anything. “A crew member responded by saying “it doesn’t matter none of it works anyway, you can touch what you want.” Everyone laughed”. :D

    According to his account HMS Vanguard failed to pass two critical tests intended to confirm whether it could have performed a successful Trident missile launch while on patrol. Problems caused by seawater entering the submarine’s hydraulic system prevented a test to ensure that the submarine’s missile hatches would open correctly and a ‘missile compensation test’ was failed three out of three times. “Billions upon billions of tax papers money” is being spent on a system “so broken it can’t even do the tests that prove it works”, McNeilly writes.

    McNeilly’s account criticises lax security standards at the Faslane submarine base, declaring that “it’s harder to get into most nightclubs than it is to get into the Green Area” which controls access to Vanguard class submarines. :D He warns that identification is rarely checked, equipment and baggage is not searched, and PIN code security apparatus at gates is not working. “If airport security and Nuclear weapon security were both compared to prisons, the airport would be Alcatraz and Base security would be house arrest”, he says.

    McNeilly documents a series of faults with Vanguard’s service systems. There were “constant problems” with two distillers used to provide fresh drinking water for the crew, with one not working at all and the other only working intermittently. There were “a lot of problems” with the ship’s electrical equipment. One of two turbo generators used to generate electricity was faulty and one of two back-up motor generators was “dysfunctional”.

    Some crew members complained that the submarine’s atmosphere was not circulating at the proper specification at times when on patrol. “For a while everyone was sleepy and then there were times people couldn’t sleep. Too high or to low O2 [oxygen] or CO2 [carbon dioxide] levels can cause this”. Problems with humidity levels in the submarine meant “there was water dripping from the roof onto all sorts of electrics”.

    McNeilly claims that safety procedures were often disregarded and short-cuts taken. Alarms on the Control and Monitoring Position (CAMP) console, which monitors the condition of the Trident missiles, regularly went off but were frequently muted by crew members. Watchkeepers in the CAMP and missile compartment “completely disregard” rules which say the posts must be constantly manned. One sailor was caught using a Bluetooth speaker to play music in the missile compartment, despite a safety requirement that “ Electronic equipment in the MC other than that required for safety and security must not be operating”.

    McNeilly claims that an exam on strategic weapon system safety and security was “a totally farce”. “They told everyone most of the answers, and any answers people didn’t know they just copied from the person beside them” Personnel who had missed the exam were told to “pick a number between 27 and 30. The number they picked was their test result”.

    During the patrol a control room panel operator accidentally activated a firefighting fog spray in the weapon stowage compartment. McNeilly records that “None of the electrical isolations that are required to be made were made; creating a high risk of fire in a compartment which contains torpedoes”. Water was sprayed over “everything in the compartment; torpedoes, lights, torpedo monitoring panel; everything” and the compartment was flooded.

    A “loud continuous bang” at the front of the submarine which was “heard by everyone” during the submarine’s initial dive was ignored, despite suspicions that it may have signalled a problem with the submarines fore-planes, which play an important function in allowing the vessel to dive and ascend. McNeilly points out that, when not on nuclear patrol, submarines are required to remain on the surface for safety reasons if the planes are defective, but on this occasion “the safety concerns were as always, dismissed”.

    Rubbish was stored in unsuitable locations, creating a fire hazard. Despite a previous fire which had broken out when toilet rolls were stored beside electrical cabling, “in numerous compartments on the boat you’ll find plastic bags filled with rubbish sitting on top, underneath and beside electrical cables and equipment that generates heat”. The pressure in gas bottles containing nitrogen gas, used as a drench to extinguish serious fires in the submarine missile compartment, fell below the specified pressure needed to safeguard the fire-fighting function, but the reaction of McNeilly’s superiors was “there’s nothing we can do whilst we’re the on-patrol SSBN”.

    McNeilly believes many of the problems occurred because the Navy’s strategic weapons programme “is so short on man power it’s unbelievable”. The rate at which people are getting pushed through the system because of manpower shortages “is scary. There are leading hands doing the jobs chiefs used to do. There is a SWS [strategic weapons system] leading hand who still hasn’t got his DV [developed vetting] clearance and he’s in the position of a launcher supervisor”.

    The account mentions disturbing personality traits among some of the submarine crew members, describing some of the personalities on board as “alarming”. “Probably the most worrying” was a strategic weapons system rating “whose hobby is killing small animals” and who has an interest in watching violent pornography. Another crew member “physically attacked someone” and was “aggressive with five different people; he threatened to kill two of them”. McNeilly states that “there have been suicides onboard” and “most people had breaking points at some point on patrol”. Worryingly, in the light of current nuclear industry concerns about the security threat posed by insiders, he tells how “a lot of people have had conversations with me about how easy it would be to take down the submarine”. It was “disturbing to know that the people serving on these boats are aware of many ways to destroy them from within”.

    McNeilly claims he has raised concerns about the safety and security of the Trident weapon system through the chain of command on “multiple occasions”, but “not once did someone even attempt to make a change”. He now feels the only choice he has is to “ignore the threat or risk everything I have to inform the Government and the people”.

    Disclosure of the information he has released will be seen as a major security breach by the Ministry of Defence. McNeilly is currently absent from the Navy without leave, and is believed to be in hiding somewhere outside the UK.

    Download William McNeilly’s account of his patrol on board HMS Vanguard here:

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/britai...ged-safety-and-security-whistleblower/5450017
     
    Illusive likes this.
  2.  
  3. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2013
    Messages:
    6,203
    Likes Received:
    5,109
    Location:
    India
  4. Illusive

    Illusive Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2010
    Messages:
    2,335
    Likes Received:
    1,418
    We should be mindful of these scenarios for our own navy. A good training programme would benefit us in the long run and avoid accidents happening in the navy.
     
  5. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2013
    Messages:
    6,203
    Likes Received:
    5,109
    Location:
    India
    British Navy Investigates Sailor's Disaster Warning Over Nuclear Subs
    Britain's Royal Navy said on Monday it had launched an inquiry after a sailor who served on its submarines armed with nuclear weapons said the vessels had major security flaws and were a "disaster waiting to happen".


    In a lengthy dossier released on the internet, Able Seaman William McNeilly, who describes himself as a weapons engineer, said Britain's Trident nuclear defence system was vulnerable both to enemies and to potentially devastating accidents because of safety failures, Reuters said.

    "Our nuclear weapons are a target that's wide open to attack," wrote McNeilly, who served on board HMS Vanguard, one the four submarines that carry the Trident missiles. He has since gone absent without leave. All it takes is someone to bring a bomb onboard to commit the worst terrorist attack the UK and the world has ever seen, he added.

    The Royal Navy said it totally disagreed with McNeilly's "subjective and unsubstantiated personal views", describing him as a "very junior sailor". But it added it was investigating both his claims and the "unauthorised release" of his dossier.

    "The naval service operates its submarine fleet under the most stringent safety regime and submarines do not go to sea unless they are completely safe to do so," a spokeswoman said.

    McNeilly said people were not properly checked or searched before being able to get near or on the submarines, and that even nightclubs had stricter security.

    "I know most people know the Trident programme is a disaster waiting to happen, but they never tell the public," he wrote.

    Police and naval officials were trying to find McNeilly, although a Ministry of Defence spokeswoman declined to say whether he faced arrest for breaking the Official Secrets Act.

    "Our main concern is to find him and make sure he's safe," she said.

    Under Trident, Britain always has one nuclear submarine on patrol. The fleet is based at the Faslane naval base near Glasgow, Scotland's biggest city.

    A decision on replacing the ageing four Vanguard-class submarines is due next year and Prime Minister David Cameron's government has said it backs the multi-billion pound renewal.

    The Scottish National Party (SNP), which won all but three of the 59 seats in Scotland in this month's general election, is firmly opposed.

    "These revelations, if true, are extremely concerning. It reads as a nightmare catalogue of serious safety breaches," said Angus Robertson, the SNP's leader in London.

    "They add to what appears to be a chaotic, shambolic safety culture on these aged subs."


    Read more: http://in.sputniknews.com/world/20150518/1014503710.html#ixzz3aUqAj1Pd
     
  6. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2013
    Messages:
    6,203
    Likes Received:
    5,109
    Location:
    India
    UK Navy Whistleblower to Turn Himself In After Trident Nuclear Safety Leak

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — An on-the-run British engineer on Monday defended his decision to blow the whistle on security failings in the UK Trident nuclear deterrent program and vowed to hand himself in soon, according to the BBC.

    Speaking to the British outlet, William McNeilly denied evading arrest after he posted an 18-page report on the Internet about safety irregularities that allegedly left the UK nuclear submarine fleet open to terrorist attacks.

    McNeilly, who is an engineering technician at Scotland's Faslane naval base in Clyde, said, "I'm not hiding from arrest; I will be back in the UK in the next few days and I will hand myself in to the police."

    The 25-year-old has been sought by authorities after failing to report for work at the base last week. He vanished after the Royal Navy launched an official investigation into the disclosure.


    In his dossier, the engineer described the overall state of the Trident nuclear deterrent as a "disaster waiting to happen." He said the Navy was so desperate to hire new staff that it failed to properly screen them, meaning it was "a matter of time before we're infiltrated by a psychopath or a terrorist."
    The United Kingdom currently operates four Trident-equipped submarines out of Scotland, the only facility able to accommodate the country's nuclear deterrent.

    Renewal of the nuclear system was a hotly-debated issue in the run up to the country's general elections on May 7. The Conservative Party, which won a parliamentary majority, advocated for a renewal of Trident.


    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/military/20150518/1022275355.html#ixzz3aY65xbaA
    ak

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/military/20150518/1022275355.html#ixzz3aY61wCqE
     
  7. Hari Sud

    Hari Sud Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2012
    Messages:
    1,048
    Likes Received:
    842
    Location:
    Ontario
    I thought problems like this are highlighted in the Indian Navy only. The British do not talk about it but there Is always a whistleblower.

    My advice to Indian commentators, stop making fun of yourself. Articles upon articles highlight in Indian and foreign press, problems in Indian armed forces equipment. They forget, these problems happen everywhere except they do not talk about it.
     
  8. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Messages:
    10,397
    Likes Received:
    2,314
    The British were made to sail on top of the water. Every time you dunk them with a submarine they have an accident.
     

Share This Page