An official dossier on a £1.3 billion Royal Navy submarine was discovered in the toilets of a Wetherspoon pub in Cumbria, sparking an investigation by the Royal Navy. The documents were marked 'official sensitive' and were used by submariners learning how to isolate and depressurise elements of its system.
Royal Navy officials said that the files didn't contain classified material and paperwork was all generic. The vessel is the fifth of the new Astute-class attack submarines to join the Royal Navy fleet and is capable of firing Tomahawk missiles.
The discovery took place at Furness Railway pub, located in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. The documents were left unattended on the floor of a toilet cubicle before they caught someone's attention.
"The Royal Navy takes all security matters extremely seriously," stated Cmdr. Jason Phillips, spokesperson for Her Majesty's Naval Base Clyde. "We are currently investigating this incident to determine how such sensitive information ended up being carelessly discarded."
HMS Anson is a 97-meter-long (318 ft), 7,800-tonne nuclear-powered attack submarine which was built at BAE Systems' shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness. It now resides at His Majesty's Naval Base Clyde in Scotland as part of their elite hunter-killer force.
Despite assurances from officials that no classified material has been compromised, concerns about potential security breaches still linger among military personnel and experts alike.
"This incident raises significant questions concerning document handling procedures within our armed forces," commented Dr Helen Carter-Brighton, Senior Lecturer for Security Studies at King's College London. "While it appears that no highly confidential information has been leaked this time around, we must ensure proper protocols are followed moving forward."
As investigations continue into how these important documents found their way into public hands – albeit inadvertently – the Royal Navy remains committed to upholding the highest standards of security and protection for its fleet, personnel, and overall operations.