Secret $1.6 billion submarine plans found in pub toilet – media
The plans of the torpedo mechanism for the Royal Navy’s newest nuclear-powered submarine were found lying on the floor inside a bathroom stall in a pub, British tabloid The Sun reported on Friday, citing a source.
The files regarding HMS Anson, an Astute-class vessel, were reportedly marked ‘official-sensitive’ – the second level in the UK government’s three-tier classification scheme. People handling official-sensitive information must abide by the ‘need to know’ principle, especially if documents “might be shared outside of a routine or well understood business process,” the Ministry of Justice website states.
According to the newspaper, the files were discovered in a pub in the port town of Barrow-in-Furness, northern England. The establishment is located not far from the BAE Systems’ shipyard where naval vessels are built. “It was quite a lively night,” the source, who claimed to have spotted the documents, said. “The pub was full of people from the docks – military and civilian.”
“I went into the toilet and the plans were lying on the floor of the cubicle with the lanyard … Anyone could have found them,” the source said.
The files reportedly included a description of the submarine’s hydraulics, which “control torpedo hatches, steering and buoyancy.”
A Navy spokesperson told The Sun the files were “generic training documents,” but added that “the circumstances of their discovery” would be investigated.
The Navy describes HMS Anson, which joined the fleet last year, as “the cutting edge of the United Kingdom’s military capabilities” and “world’s most advanced hunter-killer submarine.” In February, the vessel sailed to Naval Base Clyde in Scotland for sea trials.