Reports say Royal Navy should introduce alcohol tests for sailors

HMS Astute berthed in Southampton
HMS Astute berthed in Southampton

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THE Royal Navy should introduce alcohol testing for its sailors, according to two reports commissioned in the aftermath of a shooting on board a nuclear submarine.

The Ministry of Defence has today released the findings of two inquiries set up after Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux was shot dead by a drunk naval rating on board HMS Astute last year.

The service inquiries were held to look at the circumstances surrounding the murder in order to prevent a similar incident happening again.

Lt Cdr Molyneux, 36, was killed by Able Seaman Ryan Donovan, 23, who was over the drink-drive limit as he was on guard duty on the submarine when it was visiting Southampton.

An inquest, which finished yesterday, heard the killer had drunk 20 pints of cider and lager, cocktails and double vodkas in the 48 hours before he was put on duty with an SA80 rifle.

Now one of the inquiries, which looked specifically into the regulations around armed guarding in the Royal Navy, has made 19 recommendations.

The other inquiry, which looked specifically at the shooting, has made 20 recommendations.

Vice Admiral Philip Jones, the Royal Navy’s Fleet Commander, said 38 of the 39 recommendations had been accepted.

He said: ‘This was a tragic event for Ian’s family and loved ones, and for the naval service as a whole.

‘Ian’s selfless gallantry that day and his memory will live on through his family and colleagues within the naval service.

‘This was an appalling and unprecedented incident.

‘The naval service is determined to ensure the sequence of events that led to the shooting is fully understood and that all possible lessons are learned.

‘The submarine service is a tight-knit community of professionals, all supported strongly by their families.

‘Lt Cdr Ian Molyneux was a much admired and respected member of that community and he is sorely missed.

‘Our thoughts remain with Mrs Molyneux, her family, and those others affected by this tragic event.’

The vice admiral said he is satisfied the procedures in place at the time of the shooting were fit for purpose.

As reported in The News today, Gillian Molyneux, the widow of Lt Cdr Molyneux, welcomed the verdict of a coroner who recommended random breath testing for Royal Navy personnel.