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MS-02 - HMS Vanguard  

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General Goose
(@general-goose)
Member
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 362
02/05/2019 12:29 pm  

Mr Speaker,

At 1:44pm, yesterday afternoon, the Minister for Defence received notice that the HMS Vanguard, one of our nuclear-armed submarines, has surfaced off the coast of Siberia reporting a major leak of radioactive coolant. The purpose of this statement is to update the House on that situation and provide the facts of what has occurred.

In response, we arranged an immediate evacuation, via helicopter, of all non-essential crew in order to minimise the risks of radiation exposure. The vessel, operating via a skeleton crew, has berthed at Trondones Fort in Norway. The Royal Navy is currently guarding HMS Vanguard and we are providing all support, expertise and materials necessary to ensure the safe handling of the submarine.

We owe thanks to the Norwegian government for agreeing to assist us in this matter and in providing hospital care for sailors in Harstad. Norwegian nuclear specialists have also joined our own in helping examine the vessel and examine options for final transportation back to the UK. HMS Vanguard will return to Faslane in the UK as soon as possible, where we will mount a full inquiry.

Some of the sailors are reporting mostly gastrointestinal complaints which are consistent with mild acute radiation syndrome. There are, as of yet, no indications and no symptoms of more severe poisoning, but we are vigilantly monitoring the situation.

We have ensured that money from the Consolidated Fund is available for emergency needs, emergency medical costs, compensation purposes, clean-up requirements, and any other needs that may arise.

Our priorities as a government have been the safety of the crew and our national security. We worked to get the crew out of harm’s way, and receiving medical care, as swiftly as possible to minimise exposure to radioactivity. That is why we organised an evacuation and that is why we worked with our Norwegian partners to get the submarine to a safe dock as quickly as possible. We worked to ensure the continuity of our nuclear deterrent and to eliminate the chance of losing control of the submarine.

A full investigation will begin as soon as possible. Other submarines will be assessed in full as soon as is practicable, and all feasible checks and precautions are being made in the meantime. The submarine is now in friendly waters and the crew are no longer exposed to radioactivity. We thank them for their bravery and their service and wish them all the best of health.

Graham Adiputera (Lib Dem - Sutton and Cheam)
Deputy Prime Minister
Liberal Democrat Leader
Foreign Secretary
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Climate Change
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Technology

Parliamentary - 36
Media - 53
Policy - 48


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William Croft
(@william-croft)
Member
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 260
06/05/2019 6:16 pm  

Mr. Speaker, 

Allow me to begin by paying tribute to the incredibly brave team of sailors aboard the HMS Vanguard. I'm confident that everyone in the House joins me in thanking to them for their incredible service and bravery, and thanking their families and loved ones for the sacrifices they make as well. Those servicemen and women injured are in the thoughts and prayers of every Briton, and I wish them a full and fast recovery. Her Majesty's Armed Forces are a continued testament to the strength of our country, they are what makes Great Britain great, and all of us are forever indebted to the sacrifices they make to keep us safe. 

I thank the Foreign Secretary for briefing the House on this matter, and commend the government for their swift response. Our armed forces must always know that they have a Government upon which they can rely, and in this instance the Coalition proved capable of meeting that expectation. It is a profound relief that every sailor was evacuated safely, and I'm sure the House joins me in expressing gratitude to our Norwegian friends for the assistance they provided. 

The greatest concern held by myself and my colleagues on this side of the House in relation to this incident is the safety of our servicemen and women, and with that having been secured, I would like to press the Foreign Secretary for additional information on a few matters. 

First, as I indicated to the Foreign Secretary in a question I put to him this week, the fact that this incident was first reported as a result of footage acquired by the Russian Air Force is worrying to say the least. If the Russian government new about the state of our submarine before we did, how did that happen? And more importantly, to what extent, if any, did the Russians engage with the submarine and our sailors? 

Second, will all submarines of the same class be inspected? The Foreign Secretary indicated that "other submarines will be assessed," but would the Rt. Hon gentlemen not agree that the best course of action would be to perform a full inspection of every nuclear submarine? 

And finally will the Government provide the House with updates on the health of the sailors involved, and does the Government have a timeline for when the investigation into the incident will begin?

Once again, Mr. Speaker, I commend Her Majesty's servicemen and women for their brave and honorable service, and send my heartfelt thanks to them and their families for the sacrifices they make in defense of our great United Kingdom. 

William Croft
Member of Parliament for Bracknell
Shadow Foreign Secretary
Chairman of the Conservative Party
Chief Whip of the Conservative party


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General Goose
(@general-goose)
Member
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 362
14/05/2019 9:59 pm  

Mr Speaker,

We all can share the sentiments put forward by the Shadow Foreign Secretary, and everyone in this House, I'm sure, wishes to provide tribute to the brave servicemen and women. 

Mr Speaker, in response to his first set of questions, we knew about this incident, and the state of our submarine, before the Russian government published its footage. There was no public statement at that time because we wanted to have all the facts in order and our priority, of course, was making plans for the safety of the vessel's sailors. The Russian government did make an offer for the submarine to be berthed at a Russian port, an offer we refused because of reasons of practicality and security, but I know of no further attempts at contact, and know of no direct attempts at contact made with the government or the submarine beyond that. 

Secondly, we are performing full inspections on all submarines in due course, but as I'm sure the member opposite understands, we must ensure we have a continuity of a deterrent in place throughout this all, so that does limit the speed with which we can do this. We have taken what assessments can be made at sea at sea. 

Mr Speaker, we will update this House on developments regarding the progress of the investigation and the health of the sailors. 

Graham Adiputera (Lib Dem - Sutton and Cheam)
Deputy Prime Minister
Liberal Democrat Leader
Foreign Secretary
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Climate Change
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Technology

Parliamentary - 36
Media - 53
Policy - 48


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Dan
 Dan
(@dan)
Member A-team
Joined: 11 months ago
Posts: 139
20/05/2019 1:13 pm  

I thank the Foreign Secretary for her statement. The House will now turn to other business.

Dan

A-Team


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General Goose
(@general-goose)
Member
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 362
20/05/2019 10:22 pm  

Graham murmurs "her?" 

Graham Adiputera (Lib Dem - Sutton and Cheam)
Deputy Prime Minister
Liberal Democrat Leader
Foreign Secretary
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Climate Change
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Technology

Parliamentary - 36
Media - 53
Policy - 48


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