Tuesday 18 June 2019

Royal Navy nuclear submarine in near-miss with ferry in Irish Sea

Investigation into incident with Stena Line craft

File photo of the Vanguard-class nuclear deterrent submarine HMS Vengeance. The Royal Navy has not confirmed which submarine was involved in the near-miss (Jane Barlow/PA).
File photo of the Vanguard-class nuclear deterrent submarine HMS Vengeance. The Royal Navy has not confirmed which submarine was involved in the near-miss (Jane Barlow/PA).

Neil Lancefield

A nuclear-powered Royal Navy submarine in near-miss with a ferry in the Irish Sea.

An investigation has been launched into the previously unreported incident, which occurred  on November 6.

The ferry was Stena Superfast VII, which operates between Northern Ireland and Scotland.

It has a capacity for 1,300 passengers and 660 cars.

The investigation is being conducted with the full co-operation of the Royal Navy Marine Accident Investigation Branch.

The submarine was submerged at the depth, needed to extend its periscope above the surface of the water.

The Royal Navy would not confirm which of its 10 submarines was involved. They are all nuclear-powered, but only four carry Trident nuclear missiles.

A spokesman for the UK's Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) said: “In November, we were notified of a close-quarters incident between the ro-ro (roll-on/roll-off) ferry Stena Superfast VII and a submarine operating at periscope depth.

Undated handout photo issued by Stenna of their ferry, Stena Superfast VII, which has been involved in a near-miss with a nuclear-powered Royal Navy submarine. Stena Line/PA Wire
Undated handout photo issued by Stenna of their ferry, Stena Superfast VII, which has been involved in a near-miss with a nuclear-powered Royal Navy submarine. Stena Line/PA Wire

“We have carried out a preliminary assessment of the evidence in this case and the Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has decided to open a safety investigation.

“The investigation is being conducted with the full co-operation of the Royal Navy. A report will be published when our investigation has concluded.”

A Navy spokesman said: “We can confirm the sighting of a Royal Navy submarine between Belfast and Stranraer on 6 November 2018. We are co-operating with the MAIB’s investigation.”

A spokesman for Stena said: “Stena Line can confirm that on Tuesday 6 November 2018, Stena Superfast VII and a submerged submarine came into close proximity during a scheduled crossing between Cairnryan and Belfast.

“At no stage were the vessel, passengers or crew in any danger. The incident is now under investigation by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch and we will of course co-operate fully in this.”

Press Association

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