A Royal Navy officer has been fined £4,000 after a warship narrowly avoided crashing into a fishing boat.
Lt Rebecca Stanley, 31, admitted to negligently hazarding a ship while aboard Plymouth-based HMS Sutherland in the North Sea on 5 June last year.
Bulford Court in Wiltshire heard how Lt Stanley had shut the blackout curtains to complete other work while in charge of the ship’s look-out.
Assistant Judge Alan Large told her she would be “severely reprimanded”.
Lt Stanley was supposed to be in charge of the ship’s lookout between 01:00 and 04:00 BST during her night-shift.
Instead she decided to prepare for a manoeuvre she had no experience of, away from her duties.
The court heard how Lt Stanley told a colleague that if anyone asked “she wasn’t behind the curtain”.
‘Wrong and foolish’
At the time the frigate was being operated by an officer who could not keep a visual look out and had “an extremely limited picture” of where other vessels were, the court was told.
As a result, the 4,000 tonne warship came within just 600 yards (548 metres) of a 118ft (36 metre) long Dutch fishing boat, which had to change direction at the last minute.
Prosecuting, Lt Solomon Hartley told the court: “She thought she had it all under control.
“She didn’t have things under control and had things turned out differently she could have collided with the Jan Cornelis.”
Defending, Commander Kay Chadwick said Stanley had not been “sleeping or using her phone”.
Lt Stanley told the court: : “It was wrong and foolish of me to put the ship in that situation… I let myself and the ship’s company down”.
“Words cannot justify how sorry I am for the damage I almost caused.”
- Royal Navy