A former Royal Navy weapons officer is suing the Ministry of Defence for religious discrimination after he was removed from a submarine because he opposed nuclear weapons due to the fact he was a Christian.
An employment tribunal in Southampton will hear the case made by Sub-lieutenant Antonio Jardim, who has joint British-Portuguese nationality, who was given the nickname “Trigger” because of his “reluctance to pull the trigger”.
Tribunal documents state that Mr Jardim was assigned to HMS Vanguard, one of the UK’s nuclear deterrent submarines based at Faslane, Scotland, but after he made his views known about his opposition to nuclear weapons, he was removed from the boat and moved to an on-shore role in Portsmouth.
Mr Jardim, who then decided to leave the service in May 2021, said in a statement to the tribunal: “I wanted to leave the service after the treatment I received when making my moral views known.
“I believe I have been subjected to a series of connected acts of discriminatory treatment based upon my religious beliefs.”
He added: “Due to the stress from the entire process, along with an unbearable workload and lack of progress with my voluntary withdrawal from training and service complaint, I was sent sick on shore.”
The tribunal documents state that in his joining interview with the navy in May 2018, Mr Jardim was not asked about nuclear weapons.
And, during his initial officer training, he was told it would not be possible for him to serve on a ballistic submarine (SSBN) as a dual national because he would not be able to get security clearance.
The documents add that he was told by his career manager “not to worry about security clearance as he would not need to serve on SSBNs”.
They also state: “On June 2 2020, on the Trident officers general course, having told the course officer about his concerns, he was removed from the course and told to wait in his cabin, that for the next two weeks he had interviews and phone calls and he was told not to return to the boat, and his name was written in the quartermaster’s book stating that he was not to be let on board.”
The tribunal has adjourned proceedings for a full hearing to be held on March 13 2023.