[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 December, 2004, 11:25 GMT
Navy commander ordered back to UK
Commander David Axon
Commander Axon will appear before a Royal Navy inquiry
A Royal Navy warship captain has been relieved of his command and ordered to return to the UK, amid allegations of bullying and intimidation.

Commander David Axon was ordered off HMS Somerset, returning from the Gulf, after a complaint by a junior officer.

The Ministry of Defence conceded the decision, taken after an "equal opportunities investigation", was a highly unusual one.

Cdr Axon will have the opportunity to put his case to a Royal Navy inquiry.

He was recalled to the UK while the ship was in port in Gibraltar.

Cdr Axon has been replaced as captain of the ship by the Executive Officer, who will return the frigate to the Royal Navy base at Devonport, in Plymouth, later this week.

'No decision taken'

Cdr Axon, who lives in Southsea, Portsmouth, has so far been unavailable for comment.

It is understood there are no allegations of racist, sexist or physical intimidation.

Although no decision on his future has been taken, if he is cleared he could be reinstated.

The MoD said: "The Royal Navy is an equal opportunities employer and is proud of its record.

HMS Somerset
HMS Somerset is returning after six months in the Gulf

"The service takes all such matters very seriously and acts swiftly to resolve issues of this nature when they are reported.

"At this point, no decision on the CO's future has been taken.

"He has been invited to comment on the findings so far. It is not, however, considered appropriate that he remain on the ship at present."

HMS Somerset is on the final leg of her journey home after more than six months in the Gulf.

The ship's primary task had been to protect Iraq's two offshore oil terminals from terrorist attacks.

HMS Somerset heads home without her captain

HMS Somerset heads home without her captain

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific