A Trident submarine's entire crew was replaced after an officer tested positive for Covid-19, it was claimed last night.
Almost 170 Royal Navy sailors serving aboard HMS Vengeance were taken off days before a deployment, according to The Sun.
The crew had been living in strict isolation and had food delivered to their rooms along with regular testing.
Such rigorous precautions were taken to prevent an outbreak on the submarine, which carries the UK's nuclear missiles.
Almost 170 Royal Navy sailors serving aboard HMS Vengeance (pictured in 2012) were taken off days before a deployment
But Navy top brass reportedly had to overhaul the entire crew when an officer caught the virus.
Sources have pointed the finger at inspectors who came aboard HMS Vengeance while docked at the Faslane naval base in Scotland last week.
The Sun reports that 10 sailors that had displayed symptoms or had come into direct contact with the infected officer were removed initially, before the decision was made to bring in an entirely new crew.
An insider told the newspaper: 'It would be a disaster if there was a Covid outbreak on a sub if it was on patrol.'
Each submarine can carry up to 16 Trident II D5 ballistic missiles which are each fitted with a nuclear warhead
Britain's entire nuclear arsenal is designed to be launched from the four Vanguard-class submarines, known as Trident.
Each submarine can carry up to 16 Trident II D5 ballistic missiles which are each fitted with a nuclear warhead.
The missiles aboard HMS Vengeance can travel at 13,600mph. At the time of the test, commercial airlines received warnings to steer clear of its flight path.
They also hold the sealed 'letters of last resort' - instructions from the Prime Minister in the event of a national catastrophe or a nuclear strike.