What goes on with the submarines that launch nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles is one of the most tightly guarded secrets that any country can have. So with that in mind, one British submariner just uploaded a load of alarming information onto the Internet. And this dirty laundry is unfortunately soiled with your worst fears.
The first hand account from Able Seaman William McNeilly, who says he was an Engineering Technician Submariner working on Royal Navy Vanguard-class submarine, details not only glaring problems with base security and safety, but also everything from faulty missile testing procedures to overflowing sewage. Probably worst of all is his account of an apathetic leadership that, if this is true, is clearly is ill-equipped to deal with any of it.
In case it doesn’t sound too serious, McNeilly’s so-far-uncorroborated claims detail several instances where submarines suffered major damage and were at risk of total loss, including one incident in which the HMS Vanguard exceeded its safe depth and nearly constant breakdowns and systems failures aboard the HMS Victorious.
We should note, however, that McNeilly claims that 65 meters, or 213 feet, is the Vanguard’s safe depth, while the American Ohio-class submarines of similar mission and size have been publicly tested to over 800 feet, or almost 250 meters, and are believed to be capable of depths of over 1,000 feet or even greater.
So, for now, take McNeilly’s claims with some healthy grains of salt, at least until they can be corroborated.
Since posting the letter to Wikileaks, which is now also available on Scribd, McNeilly has gone missing, and is currently being hunted by British police. The Royal Navy has confirmed he is a member of the service, and is “concerned for his whereabouts and well-being,” according to the Independent.
We’re still going through the full document, and will provide summaries, updates, and clarifications in further posts.
And if you’re a submariner and know more, contact us.
Photo credit: The UK Ministry of Defence