Royal Navy investigating claims women harassed on submarines

LONDON (AP) — The head of Britain’s Royal Navy said he is “deeply disturbed” by allegations that female submariners were bullied and sexually harassed and has ordered an investigation.

The Daily Mail newspaper carried claims Saturday by former Navy Lt. Sophie Brook that she faced “a constant campaign of sexual bullying” as well as physical assaults. She said male crew members on submarines were “like vultures whenever a new female would come in."

Brook alleged the men kept a “crush depth rape list” ranking female colleagues in the order they should be raped in the case of a catastrophic event.

Brook, 30, left the Royal Navy earlier this year and was later given a suspended jail sentence for sharing in an email sensitive information about her submarine’s movement.

The newspaper quoted another, anonymous, navy whistleblower as saying women were constantly pestered for sex aboard submarines.

Women make up about 10% of full-time Royal Navy personnel and have been eligible to serve on submarines since 2011.

The head of the navy, Adm. Ben Key, said “these allegations are abhorrent.”

“Sexual assault and harassment has no place in the Royal Navy and will not be tolerated,” he said in a statement.

“I have directed my senior team to investigate these allegations thoroughly. Anyone who is found culpable will be held accountable for their actions regardless of their rank or status,” Key said.

The Ministry of Defense did not comment on specific allegations but said it accepted that more needs to be done about inappropriate behavior. It said it is improving reporting mechanisms for sexual offenses.

The Associated Press