A nuclear submarine of the Royal navy of the United Kingdom travelled to dangerous oceanic depths due to a gauge malfunction, according to a report in The Sun. The decades-old Vanguard class vessel had 140 crew members as well as Trident ballistic missile, and was operating in the Atlantic Ocean at the time of the incident, the outlet further said. The Sun has not revealed the name of the vessel or the depths it went to for security reasons.
Its descent was only halted once engineers working at the rear of the vessel noticed the actual depth on a second gauge, which was working correctly, and raised the alarm.
“It’s not the engineers’ job to control the sub’s depth but they saw how deep they were and realised something was wrong,” The Sun quoted a source as saying.
“Technically, the sub was still at a depth where we know it can operate, but if it ever has to go that deep the whole crew is piped to action-stations. That hadn’t happened. The sub wasn’t supposed to be there, and it was still diving. And if it had carried on going, it doesn’t really bear thinking about,” the source further said.
The submarine was preparing to go on patrol duty when dials indicating its depth stopped working, leaving commanders to think it was level. However, in reality, the vessel was still diving.
The Navy told The Sun in a statement, “We do not comment on operations. Our submarines continue to be deployed globally, protecting national interests.”
A submarine carrying nuclear weapons has been on patrol at all times since 1969 as part of the UK’s continuous at sea deterrent.
There are four Vanguard class submarines that are used in the role on rotational basis.
The UK Navy is building Dreadnought class submarines, which are set to replace the existing fleet by 2030s.
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