Trident Claim Sailor 'Not Hiding'

18 May 2015, 10:14 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

A Royal Navy submariner who criticised safety and security procedures around the Trident nuclear programme has said he will hand himself over to the authorities.

Able Seaman William McNeilly went absent without leave last week after producing a damning 18-page report containing a series of allegations about the Trident submarines based at Faslane on the Clyde, describing it as a ''disaster waiting to happen''.

Speaking to the BBC, he said: "I'm not hiding from arrest; I will be back in the UK in the next few days and I will hand myself in to the police.

"Prison - such a nice reward for sacrificing everything to warn the public and government.

"Unfortunately that's the world we live in. I know it's a lot to sacrifice and it is a hard road to walk down, but other people need to start coming forward.''

The Royal Navy said the Trident submarine fleet operated "under the most stringent safety regime''.

An official investigation has been launched after Mr McNeilly raised his concerns in an internet post.

In the post he said he is an Engineering Technician Submariner who was on patrol with the Trident submarine HMS Victorious this year.

His report alleged 30 safety and security flaws on the submarines.

He claimed there are fire risks and leaks on board and that security checks are rarely carried out on personnel and contractors working on the submarines when they are docked at Faslane.

He also alleged that alarms had been muted because they went off so often, missile safety procedures had been ignored and top secret information was left unguarded.

Mr McNeilly, originally from Newtownabbey, County Antrim, said he raised concerns with senior officers but decided to publish his claims as they were ignored.

He wrote: "It is just a matter of time before we're infiltrated by a psychopath or terrorist.

"We are so close to a nuclear disaster it is shocking, and yet everybody is accepting the risk to the public.''

The Royal Navy said it is ''concerned for Mr McNeilly's whereabouts and well-being''.

The Navy said many of the claims are ''subjective and unsubstantiated personal views, made by a very junior sailor, with which the naval service completely disagrees''.

A spokeswoman said: ''The Royal Navy takes security and nuclear safety extremely seriously and we are fully investigating both the issue of the unauthorised release of this document and its contents.

''The naval service operates its submarine fleet under the most stringent safety regime and submarines do not go to sea unless they are completely safe to do so.''

SNP Westminster group leader Angus Robertson called on the Ministry of Defence to take Mr McNeilly's allegations seriously.

He wrote on Twitter: ``UK government and MoD must take Trident safety warnings from Faslane whistleblower seriously.''