Royal Navy alcohol consumption ‘curbed’ after fatal submarine shooting

The Navy is taking steps to tackle binge drinking after the shooting of a commander on a nuclear powered submarine by a drunken colleague, the government has said.

Coroner Keith Wiseman wrote to the Ministry of Defence after the inquest of Lt Cdr Ian Molyneux in January 2013.

The ministry responded in a letter and said new practices had “moderated” alcohol consumption, according to a letter obtained by the BBC.

Mr Wiseman raised concern about a “culture of excessive drinking” in the Navy following Mr Molyneux’s death.

Mr Molyneux was shot by Able Seaman Ryan Donovan on nuclear submarine HMS Astute, which was docked in Southampton in April 2011.

Donovan, from Dartford in Kent, was seen “extremely intoxicated” during the night before his shift, and was in charge of a rifle from 12:00 BST.

He killed Mr Molyneux, a 36-year-old husband and father-of-four from Wigan, Greater Manchester, and injured two others after seven shots in 13 seconds fired from the hip. He was jailed for life at Winchester Crown Court in 2011 and told he must serve at least 25 years.

During the inquest in January last year it was estimated he had 139mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

During the inquest into the death of Mr Molyneux it was heard that binge drinking was endemic among crew and many would get “drunk out of their minds”.

The hearing had previously heard that Donovan had drunk 20 pints of cider and lager, cocktails and double vodkas in the 48 hours before he was put on a guard duty with the SA80 rifle.

The Navy allows personnel to consume no more than 35mg of alcohol per 100ml when they are on safety-critical duty, the same as the UK drink-drive limit. For personnel handling weapons the limit is 9mg per 100ml.

Mr Wiseman, Southampton’s former coroner, recommended random alcohol testing and said that no alcohol should be consumed within 24 hours of personnel starting duty, especially when handling weapons.

The MoD said new Navy rules, under the Armed Forces Act 2011, prohibited the consumption of more than five units of alcohol 24 hours before duty. It said no alcohol was to be consumed in the 10 hours before duty.

Taken from a Daily Telegraph article which you can read the full copy of here

My condolences to the family of Lt Cdr Molyneaux.

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