Top navy officer ‘took his eye off the ball’ in lead up to submarine collision

HMS Ambush
HMS Ambush
Two members of the Portsmouth and Medway Clearance Diving Team at HMS Vernon with the 250lb German bomb which was dredged up at Albert Johnson Quay. On the left LS(D) M O'Learey with some of the high explosive content of the bomb and AB C Carr with the fuse

THIS WEEK IN 1981: Dredger brings up unexploded bomb

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A TOP naval officer in charge of teaching future submarine captains ‘took his eye off the ball’, leading his nuclear submarine to hit a tanker, a court martial has heard.

Commander Justin Codd, 45, of UK Maritime Battle Staff, was sentenced to forfeiting a year of seniority after pleading guilty at Portsmouth Naval Base to negligently hazarding the £1.1bn submarine HMS Ambush.

The Astute-class submarine was taken out of service for three months to undergo repairs costing £2.1m.

Sentencing Codd, Judge Advocate Robert Hill said: ‘You have, save for this incident, an exemplary record. It was more in the nature of a momentary aberration than a careless attitude.’

The crash took place during a training exercise off Gibraltar on July 20, 2016.

Codd had been in charge of students practising controlling the submarine at periscope depth observing shipping movements.

The punishment will impact his career progression and £78,000 salary, the court heard.