British Submariner Goes AWOL After Leaking UK Military Nuclear Secrets

By Jamie Condliffe on at

The British Royal Navy is searching for Able Seaman William McNeilly after he leaked an 18-page report called “The Secret Nuclear Threat”.

In the document, the submariner explains a wide range of insights relating to the UK’s submarine operations, reports The Independent. It covers everything from the mundane, such as food hygiene, to more worrying topics such as hydraulics failures that prevent submarines from launching missiles. In fact, he describes submarine floods during testing that would have killed those onboard if the practices had been performed at sea, and writes that he “learnt that HMS Vanguard is in the worst of the worst condition”.

Elsewhere, he claims that it’s “harder to get into most nightclubs” than into sensitive parts of the Faslane submarine base on the Clyde in Scotland. “I’ve gotten through a few times by just showing my pale white room key; looks nothing like a Green Area Pass,” he wrote.

He also explains that alarms on the UK’s Trident nuclear submarine’s missile control are often muted. “I could sometimes hear alarms on the missiles control and monitoring position while lying in bed,” he writes. “I later found out that I would’ve been hearing them more frequently if they hadn’t muted the console just to avoid listening to the alarms.”

McNeilly — who describes himself as “an engineering technician submariner for the UK’s Trident IID5 strategic weapons system” — didn’t return from leave on 11th April. In a press release, the Royal Navy explained that it is “concerned for the whereabouts and well-being of Able Seaman McNeilly and is working closely with civilian police to locate him”. [Independent]

Image by UK Ministry of Defence