Personnel shortages mean warships miss training

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Royal Navy warships are unable to take part in vital training exercises because of shortages of key personnel, it was disclosed yesterday. The Navy's Warfare Branch is about 400 personnel short and an urgent effort is being made to recruit the necessary manpower.

Personnel are being taken from other vessels to ensure that ships on military operations and patrols are not affected. But there is deep concern at the need to withdraw vessels from training because of impact on skills.

The shortages are being blamed on the ban on recruitment during manpower reductions in the Options for Change cutbacks in the early 1990s.

The Navy said the Warfare Branch problems were expected to level off shortly.