US gets UK carrier, while her captain gets the boot

The captain of the HMS Queen Elizabeth has just been relieved of command, reportedly over borrowing the ship’s car for personal use. Yet the US Marines are about to do basically the same with the Royal Navy’s flagship carrier.

Commodore Nick Cook-Priest, who took over as captain of the Queen Elizabeth (R08) in October 2018, has just been “reassigned” and ordered to sail the ship back to Portsmouth after a dry-dock refit.

“We can only say that management action is ongoing and it would therefore be inappropriate to comment further,” the Royal Navy said in a statement. Several UK media outlets, however, reported that Cook-Priest was reprimanded for using the ship’s official car, a Ford Galaxy minivan, for personal trips on the weekends.

Cook-Priest was not accused of fraud or embezzlement, and reportedly paid for the gas himself. Still, it appears that borrowing a ship’s official minivan is a career-ending mistake in the Royal Navy, and Cook-Priest will be replaced by Captain Steve Moorhouse, currently in command of the HMS Prince of Wales, the carrier’s sister ship still under construction.

The two 280-meter, 65,000-ton ships are the largest-ever Royal Navy vessels, though still dwarfed by the US Ford-class supercarriers.

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