Sailor held after firearms incident on Portsmouth ship

HMS Edinburgh
HMS Edinburgh
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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A SAILOR has been arrested following a firearms incident aboard HMS Edinburgh, The News can reveal.

The Royal Navy is not releasing details of the offence, but sources have said a rating entered the cabin of the ship’s executive officer with a loaded weapon while the Type 42 destroyer was off the coast of Portugal.

It is unclear whether the sailor intended to do any harm with the gun and an investigation has been launched.

It would have been a major incident on board the warship as the use of firearms is tightly controlled.

A spokesman said: ‘The Royal Navy can confirm that a rating from HMS Edinburgh was arrested following an incident on September 28 and the rating was returned to the UK.

‘The incident is still under investigation and no charges have been made, therefore it would be inappropriate to comment further.’

The arrest on September 
28 is the latest in a spate of incidents involving guns aboard navy vessels in recent years.

A source told The News: ‘Security needs to be better to stop incidents involving firearms from happening like this. Having two people present when guns are drawn out would help.’

It comes just weeks after Portsmouth coroner David Horsley urged commanders to beef up security aboard warships after the suicide of Engineering Technician Sam Hatton aboard HMS Cattistock in Portsmouth in September 2010.

An inquest into the 20-year-old’s death heard a safety rack holding the rifles had been broken for at least six months and had not been repaired, enabling ET Hatton to easily remove the weapon and use it to shoot himself.

Mr Horsley wrote to the Royal Navy asking it to design and fit a more secure storage system on all of 
its warships and warned: ‘I am worried about a similar situation arising in the future.’

ET Hatton’s death came after the suicide of his best friend, Engineering Technician Matthew Webster, who shot himself on board HMS Hurworth at Faslane naval base in February 2010.

Last year, one naval officer was killed and another injured 
in a shooting on board submarine HMS Astute while she was berthed at Southampton.

Able Seaman Ryan Samuel Donovan, 22, was jailed for life.