British naval chief reassigned after submarine grounded

27th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

The naval chief in charge of a nuclear-powered British submarine that ran aground last month off the coast of Scotland has been relieved of his command, a Royal Navy spokesman said Saturday.

Andy Coles, 47, lost command of the one-billion-pound (1.55 billion dollar, 1.18 billion euro) HMS Astute on Friday, although he will remain in the Royal Navy and will be given another post.

In a highly embarrassing incident for the military, Britain's newest nuclear submarine got stuck on a shingle bank off the Isle of Skye on October 22 and had to be towed home.

To add insult to injury, it emerged earlier this month that the vessel -- which was only commissioned into the Navy in August -- was damaged in a collision with the tow boat. It is being repaired at Faslane naval base.

The Royal Navy spokesman said of Coles: "From yesterday, November 26, he was removed from command of HMS Astute.

"He's going to continue with the Royal Navy. He will be reappointed to another post.

"It's an internal administrative matter between Commander Coles and his senior officers."

The 7,800-tonne submarine's nuclear reactor means it will never have to refuel in its 25-year lifespan and is capable of circumnavigating the globe without resurfacing.

© 2010 AFP

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