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MOD Complacent On Submarine Safety

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The Ministry of Defence was complacent about the safety of an oxygen tank which was involved in a fatal accident on a submarine, a report has said.

The Board of Inquiry investigation followed the death of two submariners after an explosion onboard HMS Tireless in March 2007. It found the MoD's risk assessment of the tanks was "flawed".

Anthony Huntrod, 20, from Sunderland and Paul McCann, 32, from Halesowen, West Midlands, died when a generator blew up on Devonport-based HMS Tireless while it was under the Arctic ice off Alaska.

A report published in June concluded the blast was caused by a faulty self-contained oxygen container - which creates oxygen through a chemical reaction and is used in an emergency - during a routine drill. According to the Inquiry, the blast was probably caused by a cylinder cracking after it became contaminated with oil.

The Ministry of Defence was complacent about the safety of an oxygen tank which was involved in a fatal accident on a submarine, a report has said.

The Board of Inquiry investigation followed the death of two submariners after an explosion onboard HMS Tireless in March 2007. It found the MoD's risk assessment of the tanks was "flawed".

Anthony Huntrod, 20, from Sunderland and Paul McCann, 32, from Halesowen, West Midlands, died when a generator blew up on Devonport-based HMS Tireless while it was under the Arctic ice off Alaska.

A report published in June concluded the blast was caused by a faulty self-contained oxygen container - which creates oxygen through a chemical reaction and is used in an emergency - during a routine drill. According to the Inquiry, the blast was probably caused by a cylinder cracking after it became contaminated with oil.

The subsequent investigation into the procurement, supply and management of the generators found the Ministry of Defence to be complacent about improvements in safety. It also highlighted "shortcomings" in the way the MoD handled and managed risks and said logistics processes were "neither constantly applied nor comprehensively followed".

Armed Forces Minister Bob Ainsworth said the investigation had found the MoD had mistakenly believed the cylinders, which had been part of an update, delivered a "substantial improvement" in safety. It also wrongly thought a cap and seal in the new design would prevent against any contamination.

He said: "The investigation has made it clear that this belief, and therefore the resultant understanding of any risk of explosion, was flawed and that we were complacent about the improvement in safety the new [cylinders] delivered."

Mr Ainsworth said it was hoped replacement oxygen generators would be fitted across the Royal Navy's submarine fleet by the end of the year.

The investigation has made 14 recommendations for improvements across the logistics process including in handling, storage and tracking of oxygen cylinders

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