League Fears Confirmed by Latest Sub/MFV Incident


Celtic League concerns that heightened tension between the Russian Federation and NATO would lead to increased submarine activity around the Celtic countries and consequent danger in fishermen has been confirmed following an incident of the Isle of Man where a fishing vessel (MFV) appears to have been snagged by a submarine (see link);


In January we speculated about the return of this threat which was very prevalent during the Cold War and for over thirty years from 1970 – 2000 the Celtic League compiled a dossier of incidents including snagging and sinking of MFVs. During this period in addition to damage and financial loss many lives were lost in fishing communities (See link);


Two months later an incident occurred of Scotland (see link);


The Celtic League have been pressing all submarine operating powers about the steps that they take to ensure they comply with International Maritime Organisation Convention A709.17 and its predecessor A599. International rules which the Celtic League were instrumental in campaigning for in the 1980s.

So far only the German government has confirmed that the legislation forms part of its core training at the German Navy submariners school (see link);


(Note: The Ministry of Defence say a response is in hand and the Royal Netherlands Navy has in the past confirmed compliance)

Just last weekend the issue came up again when the Sub/MFV monitoring campaign came up as part of a report (League Memoire) presented at the meeting (see link);


The MOD have refused to comment on this latest incident however that is nothing new as they refused to comment after they sank the Sheralga in 1982 (leaving her crew in the water).

The identity of the offending submarine will however be difficult to pin down as with a major exercise underway off the west of the British Isles involving 50 ships, 70 aircraft and 13000 personnel from 14 NATO Nations virtually all NATO submarine operating powers will have submarines active off the West of Scotland and in the Irish and Celtic Seas. Also keeping tabs on the exercise there will be submarines from the extensive fleet operated by the Russian Federation.

J B Moffatt (Mr)

Director of Information
Celtic League


(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur)


The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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