The captain of HMS Queen Elizabeth, the British Royal Navy's largest and most powerful warship, has been stripped of his command for allegedly misusing an official car on weekends, media reports said today.
The Royal Navy confirmed that Commodore Nick Cooke-Priest, 50, had been reassigned to a new role, without giving a reason.
But navy sources told the BBC that his removal was over his use of a car of the Ministry of Defence for personal trips.
A new commanding officer has been appointed to the aircraft carrier, the report said.
It is believed that major Royal Navy warships and their captains are loaned a car for use on official duties.
However, according to The Sun, an official investigation found he had used the Ford Galaxy as if it was his own and found him guilty of an "error of judgement".
The HMS Queen Elizabeth, commissioned in 2017, is the lead ship of the Queen Elizabeth class of aircraft carriers, the largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy. It is capable of carrying up to 40 aircraft.
The report noted that while the offence may appear relatively minor, it was felt that his position had become untenable and that the commanding officer must be beyond reproach.
A Royal Navy spokesman said: "We can confirm Captain Nick Cooke-Priest has been reassigned to a new role."
"We can only say that management action is ongoing and it would therefore be inappropriate to comment further," he said.
Commodore Cooke-Priest, who joined the Royal Navy in 1990, had been in command of HMS Queen Elizabeth since October.
A former Royal Navy Captain told Sky News: "This was an honest mistake that should have been dealt with swiftly at flotilla level.
"It wasn't and has now escalated far too far. The navy hasn't got enough people as it is - they certainly shouldn't be dismissing their very best," the former officer was quoted as saying.