Tracing Paper Caused Sub Crash

HMS TrafalgarI thought this was brilliant (well, annoying too, but brilliant in its way). The pride of Britain’s nuclear deterrant, the Trident-carrying nuclear submarine HMS Trafalgar ran aground because commanders put tracing paper over its navigation charts. Apparently they were worried that trainees would draw on them :)

This mistake caused £5million worth of hull damage when the tracing paper obscured vital information on the charts and the Trafalgar grounded off the island of Fladda-chuain in November 2002. Commanders Fancy and McGhie were later reprimanded at court-marshal for their part in allowing the incident to take place.

I love the fact that the most advanced weapons platform in the Royal Navy still uses written charts (I guess GPS doesn’t work under water?), and that so much damage could be caused by the decision to put tracing paper on top!

Image by Fred Dawson – used under Creative Commons lisence

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