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Royal Navy Weapons Officer Removed From Submarine For Saying He Was Against Nuclear Weapons As A Christian
A nuclear submarine officer who objects to nuclear weapons on religious grounds is suing the Defense Department for discrimination after being removed from a submarine and losing his security clearance.
Sub-Lieutenant Antonio Jardim, of joint British-Portuguese nationality, told Royal Navy superiors that he was opposed to the use of the British nuclear deterrent because of his Christian beliefs just days after being assigned to HMS Vanguard, a Trident-missile-armed submarine.
An employment tribunal heard the practicing Christian says that after making his objection known, he was nicknamed “Trigger” by fellow sailors because of his distaste for the guns.
He claims he subsequently lost his security clearance, was banned from being aboard HMS Vanguard and instead spent a year working ashore in Portsmouth.
Now he has taken legal action against the Ministry of Defense after resigning and taking them to court for claiming to be a victim of religious discrimination.
Antonio Jardim says he was fired from HMS Vanguard for his Christian faith
HMS Vanguard seen from below as divers investigated a battleship wreckage
The 15,900-ton HMS Vanguard, which is nearly 500 feet long, cost around £3.75 billion and is one of the most formidable ships the Royal Navy has ever built.
Based at HM Naval Base Clyde in Scotland, the submarine is the lead boat of her class of four Trident ballistic missile submarines built in the 1990s as part of the Trident nuclear deterrent programme.
The Southampton hearing was told that Mr Jardim joined the Royal Navy in 2019 as a weapons engineer and was assigned to HMS Vanguard for training in January 2020.
Just 13 days later, he announced to naval chiefs that he was “against personal involvement in the operational deployment of nuclear weapons.”
A tribunal report states: ‘After completing his initial officer training and enlisting in the submarine service, he was assigned for further training aboard HMS Vanguard.
‘HMS Vanguard carries nuclear missiles as part of the UK’s nuclear deterrent.
“The case of Mr Jardim is that as a Christian he is opposed to nuclear weapons, and when he made his views known shortly after his appointment, he was taken off the boat, his security clearance revoked and then out of employment for about a year before deciding to leave the Service.’
Jardim claims that when he attended his first job interview for the Navy, “no questions were asked regarding nuclear weapons.”
He goes on to say he was told “not to worry” about a specific security clearance because he would not be serving on a nuclear submarine due to his dual citizenship.
The tribunal report added: “On January 24, 2020, he was selected for service on [nuclear submarines]. On February 6, 2020, he informed the Royal Navy that because of his Christian beliefs he was against being personally involved in the operational use of nuclear weapons.
“As a result, he earned the nickname Trigger among his peers, reflecting his reluctance to ‘pull the trigger’.”
Mr Jardim says he was removed from a Trident Officers General Course later in 2020 after telling the course officer of his concerns and having to wait in his cabin.
He said he was then given an “extensive interview” with “deep questions about my views, relationships and background.”
Then he says that he was told ‘not to return to the boat, and that his name was written in the Quarter Masters book that said he was not allowed on board’.
In November 2020, Mr Jardim says that one of his permissions has been suspended and his ID has been removed.
He had to wait months to get it fixed and was prevented from requesting another type of eviction.
Mr Jardim added that as a new officer, his career opportunities in the Navy were limited while working ashore.
He told the tribunal: ‘After considering options and talking to my current (superior officer), I wanted to leave the service after the treatment I received for expressing my moral views.
“I believe I have been subjected to a series of related acts of discriminatory treatment based on my religious beliefs.
After much thought, and with great regret, I submitted a request for Voluntary Withdrawal from Training (VWFT) on March 18, 2021.
At a preliminary hearing from the Southampton Labor Court today, a panel chaired by Labor Judge Eoin Fowell allowed Mr Jardim to modify his claims and allowed the case to move forward with a hearing in 2023.
The tribunal ruled that while Mr Jardim’s November 2020 allegations of banning the submarine, withdrawing his consent and hindering his career may move to a full hearing.
However, it ruled that it has no jurisdiction to take cognizance of its previous claims until June 2020, but ruled that they will instead serve as “background”.
The full hearing will examine whether requiring sailors to serve on nuclear submarines puts people who object to nuclear weapons at risk of discrimination, the tribunal suggested.
The Ministry of Defense disputes the claims.
A full hearing will take place on March 13, 2023.