Navy curbs booze after fatal sub shooting

15th August, 2014 by Lauren Eads

The UK Royal Navy has taken steps to curb “excessive drinking” after a fatal shooting on board a submarine.

Royal Navy Submarine HMS Astute Returns to HMNB Clyde

Royal Navy submarine HMS Astute

Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux, 36, was shot dead by a drunken colleague while on a nuclear submarine in April 2011 docked at Southampton, as reported by the BBC. 

His killer, Able Seaman Ryan Donovan, from Dartford in Kent, was said to be “extremely intoxicated” the night before his shift, during he was in charge of a rifle.

Donovan killed Mr Molyneux, a husband and father-of-two from Manchester, and injured two others on board the HMS Astute during a rampage which only ended after he was wrestled to the ground by Molyneux.

He was jailed for life in 2011 to serve at least 25 years.

At the inquest into Molyneux’s death, Donovan was said to have had 139mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, four times over the drink-drive limit, and 15 times over the 9mg per 100ml limit for Navy personnel handling weapons.

Now, the Navy has responded to comments made by Coroner Keith Wiseman in a letter to the Ministry of Defence which raised concerns over the “culture of excessive drinking” in the Navy.

He recommended random alcohol testing and said no alcohol should be consumed within 24 hours of duty, especially when handling weapons.

The Ministry, in a letter seen by the BBC, reportedly said it had implemented new practices since the incident to “moderate” alcohol consumption among its personnel.

New rules under the Armed Forces Act 2011 mean the consumption of more than five units of alcohol 24 hours before duty is now prohibited, with no alcohol to be consumed in the 10 hours before duty.

For legal reasons random testing cannot not be carried, according to the Navy.

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