CND has condemned reports that a Royal Navy officer responsible for Britain’s nuclear weapons turned up to work on board his submarine drunk.

Lt Cdr Len Louw was sent home from the United States, where HMS Vigilant – one of Britain’s Vanguard-class submarines which carries the Trident nuclear weapons system – was docked at the time. He is now under investigation.

Multiple stories in the press reveal Lt Cdr Louw was ‘staggering drunk’ and was carrying a bag of chicken. The weapons engineering officer is responsible for all weapons and sensors on board.

CND General Secretary Kate Hudson commented:

‘This is not the first time we’ve heard about crew on board Britain’s nuclear submarines acting recklessly. Over the past few years, there have been reports of inappropriate relationships, failed drug tests, shortages of staff and on-board fires. It’s ironic that the government insists that Trident is for our security, but this long list of incidents seem to suggest the opposite – it’s a disaster waiting to happen.

‘The stakes are so high if something goes wrong, that it’s beyond belief if a senior member of the crew decided to act so carelessly as to get drunk before working with nuclear weapons. Questions must be asked as to the whole culture on board the country’s nuclear-armed submarines.

‘It would be safer for all involved if the government scrapped Trident and the planned replacement, and concentrated instead on addressing the real threats we face today, not least the Covid-19 pandemic.’