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"Entombed workers" story, (and two new books)


Lantern Swinger

Rather a sensationalist headline (but VERY poor practice anyway) ;

Devonport workers entombed in submarine ballast tank
By Jonathan MorrisBBC News, Plymouth

Two workers were accidentally entombed inside the ballast tank of a nuclear submarine, it has emerged.

Colleagues had mistakenly sealed the tank at Devonport base in Plymouth, where Britain's nuclear submarines are refitted.

The desperate electricians hammered on the tank with a drill and were saved when they got a faint signal on a mobile phone.

The Unite union called it "an extremely unpleasant situation".

A report said the submarine was in dry dock last December and the two men were checking sonar gear inside the ballast tank.

When they tried to leave they found a seal had been placed over the entrance in preparation for an air tightness test.

It said: "In an attempt to raise the alarm they used the only thing they had to hand - a battery powered drill to hammer against the tank boundary but to no avail.

"There was no-one in the dock bottom to hear them.

"They switched on their mobile phones but there was no signal at the bottom of the tank so they progressively climbed to the upper reaches of the tank until fortunately one phone managed to get a one bar signal."

Twenty minutes after their ordeal started, the men were freed "shaken but unhurt".

Unite said: "We feel for the men involved and what they had to go through because it must have been an extremely unpleasant situation.

"The incident was actually caused by poor management and poor communication.

"We are disappointed it was not in line with Babcock's normal standards."

Babcock said it was "continually focused on delivering and maintaining the highest standards of safety procedures and practices".

It said an internal investigation was carried out and "changes to work control arrangements have been made".


There are a couple of new books to come out shortly which MAY interest people ;


No Room for Mistakes

Hardcover – 30 Sep 2015

A new book from this bestselling author covering the events at sea in the early years of World War II, in which he has compiled comprehensive research and insight into a highly readable and detailed account of British and Allied submarine warfare in north European waters at the beginning of the war. The early chapters describe prewar submarine development, including technical advances and limitations, weapons, tactical use and life onboard, and examine the men who crewed them and explore their understanding of the warfare that they would become involved in. The core of the book is an account of the events as they unfolded in home waters from the outset of war to the end of 1940, by which time the majority of the Allied submarines were operating in the Mediterranean. It is a story of success, triumph, failure and tragedy, and it tells of the tremendous courage and endurance shown by a small group of men learning how to fight a new kind of war in claustrophobic, sub-sea vessels with limited information about the enemy, or what they would meet off the alien coasts to which they were heading. Extensive primary sources are used to document the many aspects of this war, some of which remain controversial to this day. Max Horton, Vice Admiral Submarines 1940, said: There is no room for mistakes in submarines. You are either alive or dead. This book makes plain how right he was.


The Silent Deep: A History of the Royal Navy Submarine Service Since 1945

Hardcover – 29 Oct 2015

832 pages (!) Officially £30, Amazon are at present offering at £20.40

In the 114 years since its birth, the Royal Navy Submarine Service has stretched from the North Pole to the South Atlantic, from the Far East to the Barents Sea. The United Kingdom is girdled with the infrastructure required to support this vast enterprise; and the submarines of its Trident system form the sole basis of the UK's position as the world's reluctant nuclear power. Yet this is a subject that remains shrouded in secrecy. To this day, the Ministry of Defence responds to all enquiries about submarine operations with a simple phrase: "The Ministry of Defence does not comment on submarine operations."

Written with privileged access to both documents and personnel,The Silent Deep is the first authoritative history of the British submarine service since the end of the Second World War. This will be a history book which makes headlines.
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