Image: HMS Astute
Chris Ison  /  AP
The Royal Navy's newest and most advanced submarine, HMS Astute, is docked in Southampton, England, on Friday shortly after the shooting.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 4/8/2011 3:27:23 PM ET 2011-04-08T19:27:23

Two Royal Navy personnel were shot, one fatally, on board a British nuclear-powered submarine in port on Friday and a serviceman was arrested on suspicion of murder, officials said.

The second person shot on board the submarine Astute was taken to hospital and was in a stable condition following the incident at the southern English port of Southampton, police added.

One man was arrested following the incident, which took place at around 12:10 p.m. local time (7:10 a.m. ET). Police said it was not related to terrorism and there was no risk to the public.

"Two Royal Navy personnel have been involved in a firearms incident at Southampton docks," Britain's defense ministry said in a statement. "Sadly, one has now died as a result of his injuries."

Police added that "a man, also a member of the Royal Navy, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder."

The Telegraph newspaper reportedthe dead man was an officer and that he was shot by an enlisted man during a guard handover.

The suspect "got into an argument then just went crazy and began shooting people. He has not served in Afghanistan so it doesn't appear to be related to combat stress like PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)," a source told The Telegraph.

BBC News reportedthat a crew member was overpowered by others after the shooting.

'Traumatic experience'
Southampton City Council said the council's leader Royston Smith, city mayor Carol Cunio and chief executive Alistair Neill were touring the vessel at the time of the shooting.

"We can confirm they are safe and unharmed and should be coming off and taken away by car soon. They have clearly been through a traumatic experience," the council said in a statement.

The 7,500-ton vessel is the first of a new class of British nuclear-powered submarines that will be the largest and most powerful attack submarines ever built for the Royal Navy.

Commissioned last August, it does not carry nuclear weapons.

Brian Cedar, who lives nearby, told the BBC he saw at least six people carry a stretcher down the gangway from the submarine to an ambulance.

"If you can have a shooting like this on a nuclear submarine it is worrying," he said.

Story: 'World's most advanced' nuke sub towed free

The $1.64 billion submarine, which has a crew of 98, arrived in Southampton on Wednesday from its base in Faslane, Scotland, for an informal five-day visit.

Video: Nuke sub runs aground off Scotland (on this page)

During the stay, it was not due to be open to the public although civic leaders, sea cadets, Scouts and school and college parties had been invited on board.

The Astute ran aground off the coast of northwest Scotland last October and had to be towed free after becoming snagged on rocks during a sea trial. Its captain later was relieved of his command and given a job elsewhere.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Video: Nuke sub runs aground off Scotland

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