The controversy surrounding the sinking of the Breton trawler, Bugaled Breizh, continues with new suggestions that a US nuclear submarine may have been involved.
Independent expert Dominiques Salles who was tasked by the French courts with examining the theory that a submarine was involved has concluded that a US navy submarine monitoring movements of military grade plutonium from the French port of Cherbourg to Japan on board a British nuclear transport may have been involved.
He is calling on the US Navy to reveal the position of all its nuclear submarines in the area at the time of the sinking.
However, in common with other Navies, the United States are notoriously secretive about submarine movements and his request is likely to go unheeded.
In any case the theory seems implausible. In the past in some instances where US submarines have snagged MFV’s they have surfaced, particularly if on training or non-military operations. It seems unlikely (though not impossible) that the commander of a US vessel would have subordinated his responsibilities to assist mariners in distress when carrying out what was purely an observational mission.
The original theory that the loss of the Bugaled Breizh was connected to the NATO exercise still seems the most credible explanation and many ambiguities still surround the course and location of the various submarines involved in that exercise.
It is clear that no national government can resolve the mystery of the tragic loss of this vessel and all her crewmen. It is past time a credible international body such as the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) convened an enquiry to determine accurately the circumstances of this fatality.
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J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information