• November 10, 2015


The Breton Motor Fishing Vessel (MFV) Bugaled Breizh sank suddenly off the Lizard in January 2004 all hands on board were lost.

The sinking has been surrounded by controversy ever since not least because a large NATO exercise (similar to that held earlier this year when a North Irish Fishing Vessel was snagged) was about to get underway. A large number of submarines from the UK, French, Dutch, US and German Navies were on route to the exercise or in the area. Indeed the first vessel to respond to the sinking was a submarine of the Royal Netherlands Navy.

In addition the MFV Bugaled Breizh was a well maintained modern vessel and her crew were very experienced – not the type of vessel to be overwhelmed easily in the weather conditions at the time.

The vessel was eventually raised and an enquiry conducted by French maritime investigators (the BEA). However the family were unhappy over this and have pressed for a further more independent judicial enquiry. There quest for this was helped by the announcement some months ago that the Senior Coroner for the County of Cornwall Dr Emma Carlyon would hold an inquest into the deaths of the crewmen.

The Celtic League has been involved in enquiries into the circumstances surrounding the loss of the Bugaled Breizh. It is not the first time we have, as part of our military monitoring remit, undertaken such work. Indeed one of the very first such enquiries we undertook over 30 years ago was into the loss of another Breton trawler (Cite D’Aleth) in 1983 off Wexford.

The attached link refers to plans by TV channel FR3 to make a documentary which subsequently transpired and they visited Mann and were shown our files on such incidents which are now held in the Manx Museum Library by me:


Anxious to ensure that the Cornwall Coroner had as much information about these events as possible I wrote to her on behalf of the Celtic League in July. The letter is quite detailed and can be found at this link:


Today we received a reply from Dr Carlyon which is not particularly detailed and simply says she notes ‘with interest’ our concerns and says she is determined ‘to ensure there will be a full enquiry into the matter within the remit of the Coroner’s statutory obligations’.

What particularly interested us however was the letters opening line which said, ‘Thank you for your letter dated 1 July 2015 which I have just received’.

Most strange, I know in the distant past Cornwall was thought of a remote area but for a letter sent in July to only just turn up is peculiar to say the least!

We will of course follow Dr Carlyon’s enquiry with interest and provide updates.

Links below to the MFV Bugled Breizh and MFV/Sub issue;

Issued by: The Celtic News



The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues


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