Fury as Royal Navy sailors left in limbo after promotion courses are axed due to dodgy accommodation block at HMS Collingwood

DOZENS of Royal Navy sailors have been left in career limbo after a dodgy accommodation block led to several promotion courses being canned in a move branded ‘outrageous’ and ‘dreadful’ by an admiral.

HMS Collingwood has been forced to temporarily close the Vivian wing at the Fareham base over safety concerns with its faulty fire alarm system.

The building, which was shut last month, had been home to dozens of sailors on six key promotion courses for Leading Hands and Petty Officers - courses which have since been postponed.

The navy admitted the situation was ‘regrettable’ but insisted it was ‘working hard to ensure’ no sailor’s career has been ‘disadvantaged as a result’ of the woes.

A picture of HMS Collingwood, Fareham, taken in February 2021. Picture: Habibur Rahman

However, sources in the Senior Service have told The News they are uncertain over when the sailors would be able to progress on their course.

And in a further blow for naval moral, insiders claimed some of those due to attend the courses were now considering quitting the navy altogether, out of frustration over the fiasco.

Now a furious former assistant chief of naval staff has told of his outrage at the problem and demanded top brass ‘use their imagination’ to solve it.

Retired Vice Admiral Bob Cooling told The News: ‘It sounds ridiculous that these young men and women are being denied this opportunity. It’s extremely sad and I’m very frustrated by it.

Vivian accommodation block at HMS Collingwood, in Fareham, which has been closed since May due to a fault with its fire alarm system - promoting a number of promotion course to be cancelled.

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‘These are vital courses. They are absolutely key milestones in a young person’s career. However, they get limited opportunities to attend courses like these because of their rotational sea duties.

‘We cannot afford to lose young men and women who are dedicated enough to want to progress themselves on a promotion course - only then to be frustrated at the last minute and to then start thinking about resigning. It’s dreadful and needs to be sorted out.’

Sources on the base have described the Vivian block as ‘sub par’, ‘tatty’ and ‘not somewhere you would want to stay’ for long periods of time.

While one insider said the fallout from the block’s closure could stunt their career prospects.

‘This whole experience could push my career back two years for promotion,’ the sailor said, adding a backlog of ‘a few hundred’ people had been created as a result Vivian’s closure.

Vice Adm Cooling appealed for the navy to resume the promotion courses and employ ‘human fire detectors’ to patrol the building while the fire alarms are fixed.

He added: ‘There will be some solution to this. We have just got to work harder to find it.’

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation is in the process of fixing the building, The News understands.

A spokeswoman for the Royal Navy added: ‘The Royal Navy takes the safety of its personnel seriously and has temporarily closed Vivian accommodation block while contractors fix an issue with the fire alarm system.

‘Personnel have been accommodated elsewhere while work is ongoing and regrettably some career courses have had to be rescheduled.

‘The Royal Navy is working hard to ensure that no individual’s career has been disadvantaged as a result.’