Britain has questions to answer over submarine activity in Irish sea
Sinn Féin MLA Chris Hazzard has asked why the British government denied that a Royal Navy submarine was involved in an incident which almost led to the sinking of a fishing boat off the Down coast.
Mr Hazzard said,
“The confirmation by the British Ministry of Defence that a Royal Navy submarine was involved in dragging a trawler off the Down coast in April raises serious questions.
“In April the British MOD denied that any of their submarines were involved and stated that protocols were in place that if a submarine was caught in fishing nets it would stop and surface to protect the lives of the fishermen.
“Not only did this not happen but it was only by the quick thinking of the crew who cut the landing gear free preventing the trawler from sinking and the deaths of the crew.
“Having spoke to the skipper of the ‘Karen’ he told me of the terrifying ordeal of being near dragged underwater before being able to break free by cutting the nets.
“Our fishermen deserve to be able to work in an environment where they don’t have to worry about submarines sinking their boats as fishing is already a dangerous occupation.
“The British Government and MOD must now explain their actions, if any disciplinary measures will be taken arising out of this incident and how it will avoid similar incidents in the future.
“The fishing trawler Karen was damaged in the incident so compensation must be paid immediately to the skipper and the crew so that they can get back to work.
“They also need to mark out submarine free zones or alert fishing crews when submarines are in their area so that we minimise risks to the fleet.”