The Marine Accident Investigation Report into the collision between a Royal Navy submarine and the Co Down MFV Karen a year ago has finally been released (link):
I will not go through the detail because it is all in the report but t is clear that the Royal Navies own code of conduct and International Maritime Organisation strictures governing the interaction between MFVs and Submarines were not adhered to by the Navy. What is clear is that the withholding of information still about the submarines identity indicates that AS WE SPECULATED it was a SSBN and because effectively it was leaving for a deployment of several months to operation continuance was put before maritime safety. One has to ask what if the MFV Karen had sank without trace?
It’s also apparent there was a culture of concealment and cover up that persisted even during the MAIB inquiry.
Operations by submarines in UK coastal waters are once again increasing in intensity since relations with the Russian Federation and NATO deteriorated. It is therefore disappointing that procedures put in place after the loss of the Scottish trawler MFV Antares over twenty years ago with all hands (snagged by a RN submarine) are not being adhered to.
Governments in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and the Isle of Man need to press for renewed action at the IMO to effectively demilitarise sensitive fishery choke-points such as the Irish & Celtic Seas, West of Donegal and the Lizard area of the South West from dived submarine transit.
The Royal Navy needs to restore confidence with the fishing communities. However the RN is not the only problem it’s just months since a Portuguese submarine was involved in an incident so both NATO and the Russian Federation have responsibilities in terms of SOLAS in respect of dived submarine operations.
Finally I hope the latest incident report is scrutinised well by the Coroner for Cornwall, Dr Emma Carlyon, who later this year (or in January 2017) will reopen her inquiry into the loss of the Breton trawler Bugaled Breizh with all hands of the Lizard.
The accident occurred during a NATO exercise and RN denials of involvement must be open to question given the duplicity shown in the MFV Karen incident.
Image: RN Ballistic Missile submarine the vessels are enormous and displace the same weight as a WW2 surface cruiser.
Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch
Issued by: The Mannin branch of the Celtic League.