Answers needed after submarine incident - Hazzard
Sinn Féín MLA Chris Hazzard has tonight demanded answers following a near fatal incident involving a local trawler and a submarine 18 miles off the coast of Ardglass.
The South Down MLA said “it is totally unacceptable” that lives have been put in jeopardy and he has now brought the issue to the attention of the Fisheries Minister Michelle O’Neill.
Mr Hazzard said:
“One of our local trawlers, the Karen, was towed backwards at a speed of 10 knots as trawl wires and fishing gear was smashed to pieces.
“If it wasn’t for the quick actions of the skipper and his crew to release the winch to avoid sinking, we would have been dealing with fatalities here in Ardglass this evening.
"In recent weeks NATO submarines have been involved in an increasing number of training exercises in the Irish Sea. Indeed just four weeks ago a Scottish trawler was involved in a similar near fatal incident.
“The fact that this submarine didn't even surface to make sure the fishermen were safe has caused considerable resentment in the area. It is totally unacceptable that a submarine would show such contempt for maritime workers.
“The skipper and his crew on the Karen, and indeed all of the local fleet deserve to know the truth about what happened. Whether this is a British vessel attached to the hugely controversial Trident system or a NATO submarine in training - our local fishermen deserve justice.
"I have brought this incident to the attention of Fisheries Minister Michelle O'Neill and will continue to support all those involved in the local fishing industry."