July 14, 2016

Polite Portuguese Submarine Tangles With French Trawler

NRP Tridente in 2010. Reported yesterday was a training mishap 55km off Lizard Point, Cornwall, UK. (Photo courtesy Pedro Vilela).

Modified from a BBC report, July 13, 2016 http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-cornwall-36781151:

Until its tangle with a trawl net Portuguese submarine NRP Tridente was training with the UK Royal Navy 55km off Lizard Point, Cornwall. Lizard Point is not shaped like the famous bitey reptile but so named because "Lysardh" in the regional Cornish language means "the high court".

Tridente, while submerged, became caught in the nets of French trawler, Daytona, the Royal Navy said July 13, 2016. The trawler Daytona is registered to Saint-Brieuc, in north west France.

"The submarine immediately surfaced and made contact with the trawler," French maritime authorities said in a statement. There were no casualties and both vessels were safe, the navy said."


The French trawler was fortunate that it encountered a conventional sub (SSK) that was then polite enough to stop and surface.  

Nuclear subs have been known to tow whole trawler boats under. 

In "1990, four fishermen died when their trawler was dragged under by a British submarine on a training exercise off the west coast of Scotland.") Sometimes suspected SSNs don't stop - maybe due to the higher secrecy level (than average SSK missions) that they operate under.

The BBC reported, that later, in 2004, five crew died when the French trawler Bugaled Breizh sank off Lizard Point. "The families of the victims claim the trawler was dragged underwater by a submarine involved in an international military exercise, but courts ruled there is no supporting evidence."

NRP Tridente is one of Portugal’s two Tridente class variants of the TKMS Type 214 class. The Portuguese firstly rely on fuel cell AIP to re-charge the batteries and then the diesels rather than the more conventional propulsion pattern of mainly diesel but and sometimes AIP.

The propulsion patterns of Portugal's two Tridente class subs suggest shorter range, probably defensive, missions such as monitoring the approaches to the Strait of Gibraltar from both the Atlantic and Mediterranean sides.

With a good microscope you can see the submarines of the Marinha de Guerra Portuguesa berthed at Lisbon Naval Base (above) This map has been provided by my good friend and colleague Vasco .


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