TURBULENCE around French Trawler sinking story


Read this in the papers yesterday morning - although the NATO document is interesting, it's not at all damning - all it refers to is

'HMS Turbulent was among the ships not planned to be alongside on the date in question'

This is a NATO document - possibly the NATO version of the FOS (doesn't say in the article), and may well have been out of date, or Turbulence may have suffered a defect or a delay, or any number of problems that prevent her from being at sea. I fail to see how a document saying a ship was 'not planned to be alongside' equates with a ship being at sea - it happens to us all the time.

Food for thought, but nothing concrete to my mind.


Lantern Swinger
I am slightly curious about exactly was that trawler doing fishing in British waters? Also, if it was a NATO exercise there would have been some sort of warning to all shipping that that particular area of water was 'hazardous'.

So whether the HMS Turbulent dragged down the Bugaled Breizh or not is irrelevant. The Royal Navy is not to blame.


Lantern Swinger
As so often before, when fishing vessels sink it seems to be the automatic assumption amongst parts of the media that a submarine was to blame. Admittedly when the ANTARES and her crew were lost in 1990 off Arran, HMS TRENCHANT was quickly found to be responsible but she did surface at the time and try to carry out a search. However, since then a Code of Practice has come into force which puts a clear responsibility on RN submarines (and Allied ones in UK areas) to keep a specified distance when submerged from all vessels engaged in fishing and there are regular meetings between the RN and the fishing Industry to discuss how to further improve safety. I used to be involved with the running of the South Coast Exercise Areas (ie FOST areas) where the latest sinking took place and warnings of submarine activity are printed on the charts in general terms and backed up with VHF transmissions giving submarine activity by specific area which were broadcast by the Coastguard on behalf of FOST as the Local Exercise Area Commander.

The reasoning that TURBULENT "must" be involved comes after equally assured accusations were raised variously against unidentified merchant ships and HMNLS DOLPHIJN. In the same area we also had the long running PESCADO case where she was lost in bad weather conditions after having a refit that substantially reduced her stability yet submarines were constantly being blamed by the owners in the press. That didn't impress the jury in the subsequent trial. If I read the French investigation report into the BUGALED BREIZH correctly, their conclusion is that the most likely cause was a combination of snagging a net on the bottom in a high sea state which was exacerbated by an open door letting the sea in once the vessel tipped over enough - see the report at http://www.beamer-france.org/english/inquieries/inquieries.htm if your French is better than mine!

My personal view on the BUGALED BREIZH is that it is inconceivable that, in this day and age where it is so easy to release a piece of information anonymously via the Internet, that all 100 odd personnel onboard an SSN would keep quiet about something as serious as this if an RN submarine had actually been involved.

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