Saturday, October 25, 2008
A sailor keeping watch on the bridge of a Royal Navy frigate put the safety of the entire crew at risk by falling asleep, a military tribunal found yesterday. Jason Cuttill, 27, was coming to the end of a night shift on HMS Cornwall - the ship which suffered international embarrassment when 15 of its crew were kidnapped by Iranians last year - when he slumped into his chair. One of his senior officers thought he heard the sound of snoring and turned round in astonishment to discover Able Seaman Cuttill asleep.
Jason Cuttill: Fined after dozing off on the deck of a Royal Navy frigateThe tribunal heard that Cuttill had begun his watch at 1.45am when HMS Cornwall was carrying out navigational exercises off the coast of Norway on February 20.The frigate was being steered on auto pilot with Cuttill acting as lookout on the bridge. At the tribunal in Portsmouth, Judge Jonathan Carroll said: 'What you did amounted to an extremely serious offence. The bridge watch is extremely critical. HMS Cornwall (F99)You shouldered the responsibility of the ship and the ship's crew.' Cuttill, who left the Navy in June and works as a joiner in Leicester, was found guilty of sleeping on duty. The judge spared him from military detention, instead choosing to impose the maximum fine of £1,140 - a month's wages. After the tribunal the defendant denied falling asleep and said he was merely 'thinking with his eyes closed'.