Royal Navy officer is reprimanded for falling asleep while in control of frigate : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

LONDON (AP) _ A Royal Navy officer was reprimanded Monday for falling asleep while in control of a frigate in the Persian Gulf.

Lt. Stephen Walton pleaded guilty to falling asleep while in charge of navigating the HMS Lancaster on March 22 as it sailed out of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. A trainee navigator was left in charge. No harm came to the ship.

The court at Portsmouth Naval base sentenced Walton, who now serves on board HMS Illustrious, to 18 months loss of seniority. ``He was leaning against naval displays with his head resting against the bridge window when it was realized he was asleep,'' said prosecuting Lt. Commander Robert Wood.

Defending Lt. Commander Alison Towler said Walton had been suffering from lack of sleep after injuring his ribs during a ship rugby match five days earlier. ``It was an unremarkable and uneventful night and the ship was well clear from shipping lanes ... Walton was confident that his second officer required little supervision and so lost concentration for a few minutes,'' Towler said. ``He knows he should have walked around more but the window provided too much relief for his tired body and his body took advantage of the situation,'' she said.

September 4, 2001

-- Rich Marsh (, September 04, 2001

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