The Bugaled Breizh was lost with all five crewmen fifteen years ago, in January 2004, off the Lizard Peninsula.
Successive enquiries both in the UK and France have postulated a number of theories for the sinking of a well crewed, well equipped and well maintained vessel in conditions which were not severe.
A prime candidate for blame is the military as a major NATO exercise was underway at the time and submarines from several NATO countries including France, UK, Germany and the Netherlands were in the area or in transit to it. One enquiry in 2008 suggested that submarine involvement was highly probable but others since have contradicted this.
All the submarine operating powers at the exercise deny involvement although the Russian Federation which may have had submarines in the area monitoring the NATO exercise has not commented.
Next month a Coroners inquest will open in Cornwall (the second such attempt) to shed light on the sinking. Two of the crewmen’s bodies were recovered off Cornwall hence the legal jurisdiction of the Coroner.
A previous Coroners enquiry four years ago prompted a submission of evidence from the Celtic League which has probed submarine involvement in the suspicious loss of MFVs for decades (link):
(Other links on this and related items can be accessed via the search – top left – on our main website):
A related Breton website SOS Bugaled Breizh can be found at this link:
Image: The Judges at the inquiry at Quimper in July 2008 advanced a scenario for the loss.
There is great interest in this case and support for the families of those who died in both Breizh and Cornwall. We will update on the inquest in due course.
Assistant General Secretary Celtic League (31 October 2019)