Monday 26 September 2016

Dramatic near-miss between Irish fishing trawler and submarine off Irish coast

Greg Harkin

Published 09/09/2015 | 17:07

Photo courtesy of crew member Colm O'Brien
Photo courtesy of crew member Colm O'Brien

THIS was the dramatic moment the crew of a Donegal fishing trawler had to slow down to avoid a collision with a submarine off the Irish coast.

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Speaking on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, Donegal fisherman Seán Ó Briain described how his fishing boat came within 200 metres of a submarine off Tory Island.

He said the crew felt lucky the encounter came during daylight hours as a collision could have occurred if it had happened at night.

Seán, from Machaire Rabhartaigh, said that he and his crew were setting crab pots 14 miles northwest of Tory Island last Thursday when they saw the submarine coming towards them, and pass just in front of them.

“It was about 11am we were setting crab pots when we saw the submarine coming from the northwest,” he said.

“It went round in front of us, about 200 yards away.  We were doing a speed of about 7 miles per hour, and although the general rule is that when a boat is setting pots or pulling pots, that other vessels are supposed to give us right of way, but not in this case, we needed to slow down to let the submarine pass.”

It’s still unclear which country the submarine was from but this week Britain’s Ministry of Defence finally admitted that a Royal Navy submarine was responsible for dragging a trawler backwards off the Co Down coast earlier this year.

Mr Ó Briain said that they had spotted a submarine around this time last year as well, and that on that occasion they also needed to slow down to avoid it.

He said that they were lucky because they had daylight on both occasions and that they could see the submarine and change course to avoid it.

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