THE Naval Commander whose carelessness led to a nuclear submarine colliding with a tanker off the coast of Gibraltar has been stripped of his title.

Commander Justin Codd, 45, pleaded guilty to ‘negligently hazarding’ the £1.1 billion HMS Ambush vessel.

His submarine collided with the tanker MV Andreas and while fortunately no-one was injured, the HMS Ambush was taken out of service for three months and cost £2.1 million to repair.

Codd was teaching a group of students how to simultaneously control the submarine at periscope depth and observe other shipping movements.

However, Codd failed to carry out his own observations of other nearby ships and instead relied entirely on feedback from his students.

The students were following the movements of a yacht, named the Katharsis, and did not spot the MV Andreas tanker which was described as ‘loitering’ in the vicinity.

Codd ‘took his eye off the ball’ and the submarine made contact with the MV Andreas.

Captain Sean Moore of the defence sympathised with Codd.

“This is a failure that will live with him for the rest of his life,” he said.

“No officer becomes teacher of the Submarine Command Course because they are good enough, they must be the best the submarine service has to offer.

“Perisher is widely acknowledged as the toughest command course in the world.

“This was a case where at the end of a long and demanding period of training with the finish line in sight, Codd took his eye off the ball.”

While it is unclear at this stage the nature of Codd’s demotion, a navy source said that it impact on his career progression and reduce his previous salary of £78,000 a year.