Over thirty sailors aboard UK Royal Navy’s HMS Vigilant (S30) nuclear submarine have contracted COVID-19 virus following a port visit to US Navy’s East Coast SSBN hub.
A US official confirmed British media reports that said crew members of the submarine violated isolation rules and caught the virus. The sailors left the Navy Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia, and traveled as far as Cocoa Beach, Florida, — 200 miles away from the submarine base, USNI News reported today.
Georgia has seen 318,000 coronavirus cases and 7,282 deaths. Florida is the third worst-hit state in the US with 738,749 cases in total.
A UK Ministry of Defence spokesman told USNI News on Tuesday, “the Royal Navy does not comment on matters related to submarine operations.”
HMS Vigilant is one of four submarines that make up the UK’s nuclear deterrent. While the MoD maintains its own nuclear warheads, British and US submarines share a common stockpile of Trident II D5 missiles stored at Kings Bay.
In 2017, nine Vigilant sailors were thrown off the submarine after cocaine was found in their blood.