Royal Navy ships have at least 35 sailors airlifted away – after becoming pregnant

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The women either became pregnant while on duty or unknowingly conceived on shore.

One of the ships involved is the £1billion HMS Duncan, the Navy’s most sophisticated destroyer, which is on its way to the Persian Gulf to face down threats from Iran.

Around 18 warships were involved in the airlift operations. Some vessels had more than one pregnant sailor removed from duty.

The ships included HMS Ocean, which had featured in a TV documentary. At least five sailors were ordered to leave the vessel after becoming pregnant since 2005.

Details of the pregnancies have been revealed in a series of Freedom of Information requests obtained by this newspaper.

The documents show that since 2005 at least 35 sailors have been “medically evacuated” from operational duty after a positive pregnancy test.

But the figures, released by the Ministry of Defence, only show those women who were returned home on MoD flights.

Pregnant sailors who made their own way back to the UK are not recorded.

The Royal Navy has a strict no-touching rule on board all ships, even for married couples serving on the same vessels.

A defence source said: “In reality relationships do occur, and providing the intimate side takes place on shore it isn’t usually a problem.

HMS Duncan

ELITE: One of the ships involved was the Navy’s most sophisticated destroyer – the HMS Duncan (Pic: PA)

“But if a couple are found to be having a physical relationship while at sea they will probably both be disciplined and removed from the ship.”

A separate FOI has also shown that between January 2014 and December 2016, the latest figures available, at least 61 Army recruits became pregnant during recruit training.

An MoD spokesman said: “The welfare of our personnel is of the utmost importance.

“It is possible that personnel are not aware they are pregnant at the point they deploy, and to suggest personnel become pregnant while serving on an operation is pure speculation.”

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