LONDON, March 15 (UPI) -- Mistaking the number 1 for a 7 on a navigation chart caused a British nuclear submarine to crash into an underwater rock in the Red Sea, a court martial heard.
The May 2008 accident, 80 miles south of Suez, Egypt, badly damaged the Swiftsure class hunter-killer submarine, rendering it unfit for operations and forcing its return to England, The Sun reported Monday.
Cmdr. Steven Drysdale and two other officers testified they misread their charts, which showed the rock's depth at 132 meters (433 feet), thinking it was much deeper at 732 meters (2,400 feet), the newspaper said.
All three officers pleaded guilty to a series of charges relating to the incident.
Just four months after returning to England, the ship was decommissioned to save the cost of repairs.
The 272-foot, 5,000-ton submarine was designed to carry Tomahawk cruise missiles, but Britain's Ministry of Defense has refused to confirm whether it was carrying them at the time, The Sun said.