Nuclear submarine Royal Navy officer sent home for being 'unfit for work' after 'night of drinking'

Colleagues raised concerns when the weapons engineering officer arrived for work on the HMS Vigilant. Credit: PA

A Royal Navy officer has been sent home for being unfit for duty after turning up for work after an alleged night of heavy drinking.

Lieutenant Commander Len Louw is facing an investigation after colleagues raised concerns about the weapons engineering officer when he arrived for duty on the HMS Vigilant which was docked in the US.

It is understood he had been drinking the night before and was carrying a bag of leftover grilled chicken from a barbecue for his lunch.

He was declared unfit for duty and was sent home to Faslane in Scotland following the incident a month ago at the US navy’s Kings Bay base in Camden County, Georgia.

The weapons engineering officer is responsible for all weapons and sensors on board the vessel.

A Royal Navy spokesman said: “An investigation is under way therefore it would be inappropriate to comment further.

“However, where an individual’s conduct falls short of the high standards we expect, we won’t hesitate to take the appropriate action.

“While we don’t comment on the detail, there are numerous safety checks and processes to protect the safety and use of weapons aboard all submarines.”

HMS Vigilant is one of the four submarines which make up the UK’s nuclear deterrent.