‘There’s Something in the Water’

The news about the solar powered giant ‘ironing board’ mysteriously washed up on the Scottish Isle of Tiree brings back happy memories of the ‘Contestor P’ incident of Skerries in 1989 we reported on as part of our extensive Military Monitoring of submarine activity in the Irish Sea.

The Irish MFV Contester P was quietly fishing about 25 miles off the Co Dublin coast when it caught a submarine. Obviously a snagging between a small MFV and a multi thousand tonne submarine was no ‘contest’ (if you’ll forgive the pun).

The submarine made off with the ‘Contestor P’s’ nets and the crew – lucky to be alive in an area where a submarine had sunk the Irish trawler Sheralga some years earlier – found that wrapped in the remnants of the trawler cables was part of a submarine’s towed array sonar system.

Back then there was no mystery (as with the current Tiree debacle) as the Royal Navy were so anxious to get their gear back before it fell into the wrong hands they owned up and the Irish Naval Service returned their kit to them without too much delay.

People were not always so obliging with the military. When a parachute delivered bomb was inadvertently dropped onshore from the IOM sea bombing range the angry farmer first posed with the offending device for the media then prevaricated over letting the military on his land to get it back.

The recent Tiree episode shows that after thirty odd years the waters of the Irish and Scottsh coasts are still a playground for NATO.

Link Dail debate:

https://www.oireachtas.ie/…/debate/dail/1989-11-23/23/…

Bernard Moffatt

Celtic League Military Monitoring (12th October 2020)

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