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HMS Astute murder: MoD statement on 'Royal Navy procedures on submarines'

Following the sentencing of Able Seaman Ryan Donovan for the murder of Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux and the attempted murder of others aboard HMS Astute, a Daily Mail article by author and former Army brigadier Allan Mallinson claims that "something is amiss in the Navy". The Ministry of Defence has posted this statement on its news blog:

Following the Winchester Crown Court case yesterday, in which Able Seaman Ryan Donovan was sentenced for murdering Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux, there has been some criticism in the Daily Mail of Royal Navy procedures on submarines.

This is a case that shocked the whole Naval Service and our thoughts are with Mrs Molyneux, her family, and all those affected by this tragic event. The Submarine Service is a very close community and Lieutenant Commander Molyneux, a much admired and respected colleague, will never be forgotten. The Submarine Service has a proud history of undertaking its duties in the most challenging of circumstances and the high level of professionalism that exists within the Service has helped us come to terms with this extraordinarily sad event and continue our operations.

Any recruits joining the Royal Navy have to undergo the Naval Service recruiting test. This is a psychometric aptitude test (cognitive ability) and all submariners undertake an intensive and rigorous training programme which weeds out those who are not suited or willing to make a success of a career in submarines.

Their training begins with ten weeks of general naval training at HMS Raleigh which turns individuals from civilians into sailors. Specialist training for submariners begins at Phase 2. Depending on the specialisation they choose, core professional courses can last from 14 to 18 weeks. Following this, there is a ten-week course on submarine systems. This is a period of rigorous and intensive training involving testing at each stage. During this period, individuals normally have their first exposure to a submarine alongside, and it soon becomes apparent whether an individual is truly committed or suited to life on board a submarine.

Sailors undergoing the submarine qualification complete their final training on the job during their first posting on a submarine at sea. The training lasts approximately two to three months during their posting. Individuals can still fail at this stage, although the emphasis on board is on coaching and mentoring.


Royal Navy and Royal Marines

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