A Royal Navy officer has been sent home from a submarine after he arrived at work to take charge of nuclear missiles while unfit for duty. Lieutenant Commander Len Louw is facing an investigation after being sent back to Faslane in Scotland following the incident in the US.
Colleagues raised concerns when the weapons engineering officer arrived for work at HMS Vigilant while it was docked at the US navy’s Kings Bay base in Camden County, Georgia for maintenance.
It is understood he had been drinking the night before and was carrying a bag of leftover grilled chicken from a barbecue for his lunch.
He was declared unfit for duty and was sent home pending an investigation following the incident more than a month ago.
The weapons engineering officer is responsible for all weapons and sensors on board the vessel.
A Royal Navy spokesman said: “An investigation is under way therefore it would be inappropriate to comment further.
“However, where 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.”
HMS Vigilant is one of the four submarines which make up the UK’s nuclear deterrent.