Responding to the incident involving HMS Astute this morning, Kate Hudson, General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said “This latest incident highlights the dangers of the large number of nuclear submarine movements around Britain’s shores. The Government this week confirmed they will continue with an unbroken cycle of patrolling by the Trident submarines, with more submarines moving in and out of their base than are required either for defence or training purposes. Both to reduce global tensions and diminish the chances of one of these incidents turning into a major disaster, these unnecessary patrols should cease.”
This is the fifth incident of British submarines hitting static obstacles in recent years. In May 2008, HMS Superb hit an underwater pinnacle in the Red Sea and after returning to the UK on the surface was decommissioned prematurely due to the prohibitive cost of repairs. HMS Trafalgar also ran aground off Skye November in 2002 after helmsmen placed tracing paper over the navigational chart so as not to mark it, running into well-charted rocks. HMS Triumph and HMS Victorious were involved in incidents within ten days of one another in November 2000.
The Trident nuclear weapons submarine HMS Vanguard also collided with the French nuclear weapon submarine in February 2009 in an incident that caused extensive damage.