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Eighteen months ago, the actions of the command team of a Royal Navy submarine placed the lives of the crew of the trawler Karen in danger. Regrettably, the reluctance of the Royal Navy to fully engage in the subsequent investigation resulted in this report taking significantly longer to deliver than would normally be the case. The accident happened because of insufficient passage planning by the submarine’s command team and their failure to follow guidance on fishing vessel avoidance. Had its trawl warps not parted, it is almost inevitable that Karen would have capsized and sunk; the collision also presented a very significant risk to the submarine ” (Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents, emphasis added.) https://www.gov.uk/maib-reports/collision-between-the-stern-trawler-karen-and-a-dived-royal-navy-submarine
Joint Warrior provides a complex environment in which UK, NATO and allied units can go through training together in tactics and skills for use in a combined joint task force.http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2015/may/15/150515-845-nas-on-exercise-joint-warrior-151
Collision between the stern trawler Karen and a dived Royal Navy submarine" From: Marine Accident Investigation Branch 12 October 2016, OGL Crown copyright. Cover
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/57fe2e2ee5274a496200000a/MAIBInvReport20_2016.pdf

It is suspected that the UK Ministry of Defence’s refusal to fully cooperate and identify the submarine is because it was a nuclear submarine that was also carrying nuclear weapons. Read more here: https://mariannewildart.wordpress.com/2016/10/14/barrow-built-submarine-dragged-fishing-crew-across-irish-sea/
Nuclear Submarine HMS Vanguard Passes HMS Dragon as She Returns to HMNB Clyde, Scotland
Nuclear Submarine HMS Vanguard Passes HMS Dragon as She Returns to HMNB Clyde, Scotland

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch Report says that “The Vanguard class submarines, HMS Vanguard, HMS Victorious, HMS Vigilant and HMS Vengeance…carried the trident ballistic nuclear missile system and maintain the ‘continuous at sea’ strategic deterrent patrol. (“Collision between the stern trawler Karen and a dived Royal Navy submarine“12 October 2016, Emphasis our own.) They were carrying trident nuclear missiles. However, UK MoD refuses to say if this type of sub is the one which hit the fishing boat.

Some Maps from the Report:
Collision between the stern trawler Karen and a dived Royal Navy submarine" From: Marine Accident Investigation Branch 12 October 2016, OGL Crown copyright., Map of Locations in the Irish Sea
Collision between the stern trawler Karen and a dived Royal Navy submarine" From: Marine Accident Investigation Branch 12 October 2016, OGL Crown copyright, trawler Karen dragged trajectory
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/57fe2e2ee5274a496200000a/MAIBInvReport20_2016.pdf

More from the MAIB Investigation Report:
The military exercise taking place at the time of the accident was Exercise Joint Warrior 151. The MoD’s Joint Tactical Exercise Planning Staff (JTEPS) plan and deliver this major land, sea and air training exercise that takes place twice a year, predominantly in areas to the north and west of Scotland. Before the exercise started, the Director of JTEPS published a letter (Annex C) setting out the exercise areas in use, including where dived submarine operations were planned to take place. The submarine exercise areas detailed in the JTEPS letter (Annex C) did not correlate with the areas published in MGN 12(F) and the areas it indicated as being active on 15 April 2015 were not included in the SUBFACTS broadcast for that day.” © Crown copyright, 2016, “Collision between the stern trawler Karen and a dived Royal Navy submarine” MAIB Accident Investigation Report 20/2016 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/57fe2e2ee5274a496200000a/MAIBInvReport20_2016.pdf

From the Royal Navy:
Joint Warrior military exercise to take place
07/04/2015 A large bi-annual military exercise is set to take place across various UK locations next week, involving the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Airforce
Exercise Joint Warrior will run from Saturday 11 April until Friday 24 April and will feature 55 war ships and submarines, 70 aircraft and around 13,000 personnel from 13 participating countries./ There will be significant naval and aerial activity off the West and East coast of Scotland, including amphibious landings on the West coast.

OGL, © Crown copyright: http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2015/april/07/150407-joint-warrior-military-exercise-to-take-place

Non-military Scots beware, and non-military members of the Scottish diaspora think twice before going home to visit. If anyone knew about this there would be almost no non-military tourism. People might be wary of visiting parts of Ireland too. However, people shouldn’t be doing commercial or non-commercial fishing in the Irish Sea due to radioactive discharges from Sellafield and nuclear power stations, but they continue to do so.

They have to explain the submarines which may have hit the fishing trawler (boat) since the UK MoD won’t tell which one did hit the boat: “The Royal Navy disclosed neither the name nor the class of the submarine involved in this accident to the MAIB” Is it possible it was a foreign sub?

1.7 ROYAL NAVY SUBMARINES

1.7.1 The fleet

At the time of the accident, the Royal Navy was operating a fleet of 10 nuclear-powered submarines: 4 Vanguard class, 4 Trafalgar class and 2 Astute class submarines. Vanguard and Astute class submarines were based at HMNB Clyde in Faslane and the Trafalgar class submarines were based at HMNB Devonport in Plymouth, England.

The Vanguard class submarines, HMS Vanguard, HMS Victorious, HMS Vigilant and HMS Vengeance were 149.9m in length, had a displacement of 15,900t and were capable of speeds up to 25kts. These submarines carried the trident ballistic nuclear missile system and maintain the ‘continuous at sea’ strategic deterrent patrol.

The four Trafalgar class submarines, HMS Talent, HMS Torbay, HMS Trenchant and HMS Triumph, were 85.4m in length, had a displacement of 5,298t and were armed with torpedoes and land attack missiles.

The two Astute class submarines, HMS Astute and HMS Ambush, were 97m in length, had a displacement of 7,400t, were capable of speeds up to 30kts and, similar to the Trafalgar class, were armed with torpedoes and land attack missiles.

The Royal Navy disclosed neither the name nor the class of the submarine involved in this accident to the MAIB” © Crown copyright, 2016 “Collision between the stern trawler Karen and a dived Royal Navy submarine, Accident Investigation Report 20/2016, Investigation report into marine accident including what happened and safety lessons learned: MAIB investigation report 20-2016: Karen and a dived Royal Navy submarine https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/57fe2e2ee5274a496200000a/MAIBInvReport20_2016.pdf

Summary
On 15 April 2015, a dived Royal Navy submarine snagged the fishing gear of the UK registered trawler Karen, east of Ardglass, Northern Ireland. Karen was towed backwards and had partially submerged before being released from the submarine when the trawl warps gave way. The submarine did not surface to render immediate assistance as evidence of the collision on board was either ignored or misinterpreted.

Statement from the Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents

Eighteen months ago, the actions of the command team of a Royal Navy submarine placed the lives of the crew of the trawler Karen in danger. Regrettably, the reluctance of the Royal Navy to fully engage in the subsequent investigation resulted in this report taking significantly longer to deliver than would normally be the case.

The accident happened because of insufficient passage planning by the submarine’s command team and their failure to follow guidance on fishing vessel avoidance. Had its trawl warps not parted, it is almost inevitable that Karen would have capsized and sunk; the collision also presented a very significant risk to the submarine.

The Royal Navy’s Code of Practice for Fishing Vessel Avoidance was created after the loss of the trawler Antares and its crew in 1990; however, it is apparent that lessons learnt after the Antares accident have been lost. As a result, it is now important that the Royal Navy reviews its procedures and training for the safe conduct of dived submarine operations in the same vicinity as vessels engaged in fishing. By its actions, the Royal Navy also needs to rebuild trust with the fishing industry.

Safety Issues
* Collision avoidance between a dived submarine and any other vessel is the responsibility of the submarine’s command team. In this case, the submarine’s command team did not take avoiding action to keep clear of Karen because it had been misidentified as a merchant vessel.
* Passage planning requires that all hazards are taken into account and avoided. The trawlers in the area presented a significant hazard for the submarine; this risk could have been avoided by better planning and execution of the submarine’s passage.
* Automatic identification system (AIS) data is used by submarines to aid situational awareness; therefore, it is important for fishing vessels fitted with AIS to transmit all the time.
* In an emergency situation, use of the digital selective calling (DSC) distress key will rapidly raise the alarm and also ensure that the coastguard receive the distressed vessel’s position.

Recommendations The recommendations (2016/144 and 2016/145) in this case are intended to ensure that the Royal Navy has the necessary training and procedures in place to prevent recurrence.“Open Government Licence v3.0 © Crown copyright, 2016 https://www.gov.uk/maib-reports/collision-between-the-stern-trawler-karen-and-a-dived-royal-navy-submarine

More from the MAIB Report:
SYNOPSIS

At 1605 on 15 April 2015, a dived Royal Navy submarine snagged the fishing gear of the UK registered trawler Karen, 15 miles south-east of Ardglass, Northern Ireland. Karen had been trawling for prawns on a westerly heading at 2.8 knots when its fishing gear was snagged and it was dragged backwards at about 7 knots. Karen’s crew managed to release both winch brakes, freeing the trawl warps; the starboard warp ran out completely but the port warp became fouled on the winch drum, causing Karen to heel heavily to port and its stern to be pulled underwater. Karen broke free from the submarine when the port warp parted; there was structural damage to the vessel but it returned to Ardglass safely under its own power. Evidence of the collision on board the submarine was either not observed or misinterpreted. This meant that the submarine did not render immediate assistance as the command team was unaware of the collision until about 3 hours later.

The collision occurred because the submarine’s command team assessed that Karen was a merchant vessel, primarily because no trawl noise1 was heard. The submarine was at a depth where it could, if necessary, pass safely beneath a merchant vessel, therefore the command team would not have perceived any risk of collision; as a result, no avoiding action was taken.

The submarine’s command team had assessed that the majority of shipping contacts in the area were merchant vessels. However, most were actually trawlers; this was predictable and should have been identified as a significant risk to the safety of the submarine and other vessels when preparing the submarine’s passage plan. Had the submarine’s command team appreciated the high density of fishing vessels and then followed Royal Navy guidance on fishing vessel avoidance, the accident would have been avoided because the submarine would have been slowed down and returned to periscope depth when the density of shipping increased.

This investigation was conducted without the full co-operation of the Royal Navy. The involvement of a submarine was not revealed until nearly 5 months after the accident and it took 10 months for the Royal Navy to submit evidence to the investigation team. These delays impeded the progress of the independent investigation, and the evidence submitted was insufficient to determine all the causal factors.

This report makes safety recommendations to the Royal Navy to review the procedures and training necessary to ensure that submarine operations in the vicinity of vessels engaged in fishing are conducted safely, and to provide assurance that actions have been taken to prevent recurrence.
[…]
1.14 PREVIOUS OR SIMILAR ACCIDENTS

1.14.1 Collision between HMS Trenchant and Antares

At 0217 on 22 November 1990, the Royal Navy Trafalgar Class nuclear powered submarine, HMS Trenchant, collided with the trawl gear of the pelagic trawler Antares east of the Island of Arran, Scotland. The collision resulted in Antares capsizing and foundering with the loss of all four crew. The MAIB investigation 25 established that the collision was caused by a breakdown in the watchkeeping structure and standards on board the submarine. The submarine’s command team had no clear appreciation of the surface contacts held on sonar prior to the collision, and the absence of trawl noise from Antares led to an incorrect assumption that the contact was not engaged in fishing.

After the collision, a sonar operator on board HMS Trenchant reported hearing an unusual noise, which was later assessed to probably have been noises associated with Antares sinking. This noise, allied with the disappearance of Antares’ sonar contact, should have provided sufficient evidence on board for the command team of HMS Trenchant to appreciate what had happened. However, there was no proper analysis of these two pieces of information and, after surfacing to clear wires from its casing, the submarine dived and continued its training exercise.

Recommendations were made in the MAIB report that included: extending the existing notification scheme, submarines not on exercise should proceed on the surface, extending the minimum passing distance for a deep submarine to 4000yds and reviewing the guidance in place at the time. The outcome of the Royal Navy’s review, undertaken as a result of these recommendations, was the creation of the FV Code as described in this report.” © Crown copyright, 2016 Entire report: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/57fe2e2ee5274a496200000a/MAIBInvReport20_2016.pdfCollision between the stern trawler Karen and a dived Royal Navy submarine” From:
Marine Accident Investigation Branch
Published: 12 October 2016
Date of occurrence: 15 April 2015
Vessel type: Fishing vessel
Report type: Investigation report
Collision between the stern trawler Karen and a dived Royal Navy submarine" From: Marine Accident Investigation Branch 12 October 2016, OGL Crown copyright, parties involved in collision
Page from “Collision between the stern trawler Karen and a dived Royal Navy submarine“, Marine Accident Investigation Branch 12 October 2016, OGL Crown copyright.

In the event that it was not made abundantly clear: everything in italics above and the images are OGL: Crown Copyright. Emphasis added throughout.