A 52 year old male has been arrested in Greenock for following a nuclear submarine with a drone.
Police arrested the 52-year-old man in Greenock after reports of a drone flying close to a submarine in the Clyde.
INVERCLYDE – DRONE
Police arrested a 52Yo male for flying a Drone too close to a Navy submarine.
Drones can pose a risk to the public and community and should only be used responsibly, safely & legally.
— Inverclyde Police (@GreenockPolice) May 7, 2019
The Greenock Telegraph reported that a joint operation was immediately launched by the MoD and Police Scotland and that the operator has been charged with air navigation offences and a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal. It is understood that alarm was raised after a ‘small unmanned surveillance aircraft’ which appeared to be following and tracking the submarine.
I had earlier reported that the arrest was in connection to a December investigation over sightings of a drone near the base and close to a submarine, however, it is now understood that this arrest happened after the operator of the drone was traced to Battery Park in Gourock after what appears to be a far more recent incident.
This casts very strong doubts over whether or not the arrest was related to the earlier investigation as most drones do not have the range to reach the No Fly Zone near the base from that location.
I’m awaiting confirmation that this is in fact a separate incident to the one that occurred late last year when the Ministry of Defence confirmed that a drone had been sighted near HMNB Clyde at Faslane, stating:
“We can confirm that there was a sighting of a drone in the vicinity of HM Naval Base Clyde. The person operating the drone has not been identified and there is an investigation ongoing. At no time was there any risk to any vessel or any members of the public.”
If this is in fact unrelated to the earlier investigation (which now seems very likely despite what I had been told earlier) then this incident raises serious questions over the usage of drones and the vulnerability of submarines leaving or entering Faslane.
Christopher McElney, who represents Inverclyde, told me this afternoon:
“This case highlights a real concern for people that live on the Clyde. The submarines travel for miles above shore in plain sight, outwith the no fly zone, and I think people that live in the area deserve an answer; if hobby drone flyers are being arrested for the threat they provide, how is the threat from people that may be intent to cause harm mitigated?”
It’s a very fair question and one I’m curious to find an answer to also.
What realistic (and within the public domain) defence from drones do submarines have when entering or leaving Faslane? With the rise of hobbyist drones and their popularity in places like Gourock, what can be done to keep the submarines safe from someone determined to cause harm?
— UK Defence Journal (@UKDefJournal) May 10, 2019