A PLYMOUTH naval commander who was in charge of a nuclear-powered submarine which ran aground will not face charges, according to messages posted on his Twitter page. Andy Coles was relieved of his command of HMS Astute after it became stuck off the coast of Skye while on sea trials on October 22 last year. The submarine ended up marooned for several hours. It was reported today that Mr Coles, 48, announced over Twitter that he was told “no charges” were being brought against him. The Daily Record reported that Mr Coles, who lives in Yealmpton, claimed over social networking site Twitter on Monday: “10 months to the day after the grounding have finally been told 'no charges' to be brought!” In a follow-up tweet he wrote: “Time to rebuild my reputation and career..... After a well earned week in Greece!” But an MoD spokesman indicated that no decision had been made yet. The spokesman said: “The Royal Navy Police Special Investigations Branch commenced an investigation into the incident on November 23 2010. This investigation has now concluded. The Royal Navy is considering the RNP SIB's report.” He said it would be “wholly inappropriate” for the service to comment any further. The submarine returned to its base at Faslane on the Clyde three days after the incident. Unconfirmed reports suggested the repair bill ran into millions of pounds. HMS Astute weighs 7,800 tonnes, equivalent to nearly 1,000 double-decker buses, and is almost 100 metres (328ft) long.
Its Spearfish torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles are capable of delivering pinpoint strikes from 2,000km (1,240 miles) with conventional weapons. The submarine's nuclear reactor means that it will not need refuelling once in its entire 25-year life and it makes its own air and water, enabling it to circumnavigate the globe without needing to surface. The accident happened almost exactly 50 years after the UK's first nuclear submarine was launched. HMS Dreadnought was launched on October 21 1960 by the Queen.