BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR
Apr 28 2004
EXCLUSIVE: 11 mutinous sailors quit over 270 'safety defects'
By Tom Newton Dunn
ELEVEN mutinous sailors have refused to sail on a "death trap" nuclear submarine.
The crewmen quit refitted HMS Trafalgar furious it was passed as seaworthy despite claims it had 270 safety defects. They face possible court martial and military jail.
The defects include a faulty nuclear reactor, high radiation levels and sub-standard safety equipment. Trafalgar is now on sea trials.
FEARS: HMS Trafalgar
A source said: "When all the problems are put together the submarine is a potential death trap." The Navy said: "We wouldn't allow a boat to sail unless convinced it was fit to do so."
CREWMEN on HMS Trafalgar mutinied after TWO gas escapes convinced them their lives were at risk.
The sailors were already outraged the nuclear sub was passed as seaworthy despite claims it had been riddled by up to 270 defects imperilling safety.
Twelve of the problems were said to be so serious any one should stop the vessel sailing.
Driven to the brink by the latest scare, each of the 11 men told the sub's commander Mark Williams of their fears and said they were refusing to sail on the vessel's maiden voyage after Ј60million repairs.
They were then escorted off the boat with their careers in ruins and the threat of a court martial, and even jail, hanging over their heads. Up to 60 junior and senior ratings had also voiced concerns.
But their worries were dismissed and new crew recruited to replace the mutineers, who included three of the sub's four safety experts.
The vessel is now on a four-week trial in the Irish Sea and Atlantic.
A naval source said last night: "The sub is a potential death trap. It's a ticking time bomb. If anything went wrong, there'd be a massive disaster just like the Kursk. And it's all because so many corners have been cut."
Another insider added: "It's a national scandal the sub is out.
"I understand the emergency rescue system to refloat the boat doesn't work and the escape hatches are in such a bad state you'd never get people out without a flood.
"These men know their careers are over. They weighed the odds and decided their lives are more important than their jobs."
It is the most serious personnel crisis to hit the Royal Navy in living memory. Armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, torpedoes and ship-to-ship missiles, Trafalgar is the flagship of the Royal Navy's 12-strong hunter-killer submarine fleet.
In November 2002 she ran aground on rocks off the Isle of Skye while in the charge of unsupervised trainee officers.
Her starboard hull was torn open. The sub then underwent 15 months of repairs at Devonport. But, according to a document seen by the Mirror, Trafalgar emerged with hundreds of defects.
They included a faulty nuclear reactor, sub-standard escape, safety and emergency equipment, oil contamination in water supplies, unexplained high radiation levels and shoddy workmanship.
Taken together, they could leave the crew unable to escape if the sub ran into serious problems such as engine failure or a weapons explosion. In August 2000 all 118 crew on the Russian nuclear sub Kursk died when a torpedo exploded while the vessel was in the Barents Sea.
The final straw for the mutineers came in the gas scares last week.
On the first occasion diesel exhaust fumes were sucked in by the air intake mast, forcing the use of emergency breathing systems.
Then, when Trafalgar reached Faslane from Plymouth, deadly Freon gas leaking from a cold storage freezer was pumped around the sub's air conditioning system, leading to a mass dockside evacuation.
All crew were asked if they wanted to report concerns to Commander Williams. The 11 spoke out and were taken off.
Apart from the safety experts one is a Petty Officer with 17 years service, two are tactical systems managers and five are sonar operators.
Trafalgar's sailing was delayed by 48 hours until Sunday while a reserve crew was rounded up. Our source revealed: "At the moment an enormous risk is being taken.
"You need to know everything is 100 per cent perfect, especially the safety systems, and it's very far from it. The only reason more blokes didn't quit is because they can't afford to lose their jobs."
Navy personnel blame Trafalgar's rapid redeployment on budget cuts and heavy political pressure.
Our source said: "The officers on board were under huge pressure to get the sub out. That's come from very high up in the Navy because of all the problems the service has had with submarines.
"Institutional pressure has put them in this mad situation.There's a feeling we're overdue for a disaster. "
Last night the Navy insisted half of Trafalgar's 12 main problems were rectified and those that remained did not pose a safety threat.
A spokesman said: "Eleven men from HMS Trafalgar's company have left the boat. They had expressed concerns about its safety.
"We take submarine and nuclear safety issues extremely seriously and wouldn't allow a boat to sail unless convinced she was fit to do so.
"The shakedown following a boat's refit is designed to ensure all systems are working correctly before the vessel is declared operational.
"If a boat were to fail an essential safety check she would not be allowed to sail."
The spokesman added that Trafalgar's commanding officer claimed none of the sailors refused to sail. Instead, they were asked to leave at the captain's request.
Referring to the gas scares, the MoD said: "A diesel exhaust entered the submarine and caused an emergency.
"There was also a Freon gas leak from one of the freezers which led to an evacuation."
Read today's News Headlines at the home of the Daily Mirror Newspaper - get the latest breaking News, Sport and Celebs updated throughout the day at Mirror.co.uk.// www.mirror.co.uk
Бунт на британской атомной подлодке Trafalgar - моряки отказываются выходить в море
время публикации: 14:15
последнее обновление: 14:15
Настоящий бунт вспыхнул на британской атомной подводной лодке Trafalgar. 11 моряков отказались выходить на лодке в море из-за опасений в безопасности ее эксплуатации.
По данным газеты The Daily Mirror, моряки были крайне обеспокоены 270 неполадками, обнаруженными на лодке. Речь идет о серьезных неполадках в атомном реакторе лодки, в системе аварийной эвакуации экипажа с лодки, а также в системах жизнеобеспечения корабля. В том числе матросы говорят, что масло протекает в резервуары с водой и ее нельзя пить. Также газета сообщает о том, что на лодке за последние несколько дней было зафиксировано уже две утечки газа.
Среди взбунтовавшихся матросов 3 офицеров, отвечавших за безопасность АПЛ. Они утверждают, что из 270 неполадок - 11 настолько серьезны, что каждой из них хватит, чтобы запретить лодке выходить в море.
После того, как 11 моряков отказались напрасно рисковать жизнью, они были выведены с АПЛ под конвоем. Газета The Mirror пишет, что теперь им грозит трибунал и военная тюрьма. Кроме того, еще 60 членов экипажа высказали свои опасения.
Однако ни командование ВМФ, ни министерство обороны не признает, что с лодкой может быть что-то не в порядке. На лодку была направлена новая команда.
В министерстве обороны также полностью отрицают сообщения о мятеже, сообщает Sky News.
"Королевский ВМФ никогда не отправит в море неисправную подводную лодку. Никакого мятежа не было. Мы категорически опровергаем все подобные сообщения", - заявил пресс-секретарь военного ведомства.
В ноябре 2002 года АПЛ Trafalgar, на борту которой находятся ракеты "Томогавк", села на мель вблизи шотландского острова. Ремонт лодки обошелся в 60 миллионов фунтов стерлингов.
Бунт вспыхнул на британской атомной подводной лодке Trafalgar. 11 моряков отказались выходить на лодке в море из-за опасений в безопасности ее эксплуатации. На АПЛ обнаружено 270 различных неполадок, в том числе в ядерном реакторе. Минообороны все опровергает.// www.newsru.com
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