Royal warship's itinerary left on pub table
A document detailing a British Royal Navy warship's tour of duty in the Middle East over the next two years has been found in a pub.india Updated: Jan 17, 2006 20:16 IST
A sensitive document detailing a British Royal Navy warship's tour of duty in the Middle East over the next two years has been found in a pub, the Daily Mirror reported Tuesday.
A student spotted the two-page document -- titled "HMS St Albans Longcast", and marked "restricted" -- lying on a table as he played pool with friends in The Albany pub in Portsmouth, on England's south coast, the newspaper said.
It included times and dates of patrol operations in Iraq, Beirut, Bahrain, Qatar, Dubai, the Gulf and Suez, which were codenamed as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
The Mirror claimed the security lapse could have exposed British sailors to a terrorist attack like that against the USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000 when 17 sailors were killed.
HMS St Albans, a Type-23 frigate which is currently docked in Portsmouth, may now be forced to change its itinerary, it added.
"If this had been found by a terrorist sympathiser God knows what could have happened. It's very serious. It's incredibly sloppy," 22-year-old Michael Blown, who found the document, was quoted as saying.
"Whoever is responsible for losing it needs to be severely spoken to," he said, suggesting the list could have belonged to a group of men seen drinking and playing pool before him.
The Mirror, which published a photograph of the document with details of the ports blacked out, said it had now passed it on to the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
An MoD spokesman was quoted as saying that the document was provided for sailors' families to indicate the ship's likely movements.
"It is not classified but it is sensitive and we make it clear that those given copies should look after them. That this information has entered the public domain is disappointing," the spokesman said.
"We will need to take this into account when we make the risk assessments for the port visits and in finalising the ship's programme over the next year. "We will be reminding our people of the importance of looking after this document in the future."