Royal Navy officer in charge of nuclear missiles 'sent home after arriving for shift drunk and clutching bag of BBQ chicken'

A Royal Navy officer in charge of nuclear missiles was sent home from a submarine after he arrived at work while unfit for duty.

Lieutenant Commander Len Louw, a weapons engineering officer in his 40s, is now under investigation after being sent back to Faslane in Scotland following the incident in the US.

It is the latest scandal to hit HMS Vigilant, which has been dubbed ‘HMS Sex and Cocaine’ after more than 35 crew members tested positive for Covid-19 last week after leaving a US base to party.

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Colleagues raised concerns when Lt Commander Louw arrived for work at the submarine while it was docked at the US navy’s Kings Bay base in Camden County, Georgia for maintenance.

HMS Vigilant is one of the four submarines which make up the UK’s nuclear deterrent.
HMS Vigilant is one of the four submarines which make up the UK’s nuclear deterrent.

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.

Lt Commander Louw 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.

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