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Karen and a dived Royal Navy submarine report published

Collision between a dived Royal Navy submarine and the trawler Karen, east of Ardglass, Northern Ireland.

Fishing vessel Karen returning to port after collision
Fishing vessel Karen returning to port after the collision (image courtesy of Ross Boats Ltd)

MAIB’s report on the investigation into the collision between a dived Royal Navy submarine and the trawler Karen in the Irish Sea on 15 April 2015 is now published.

The report contains details of what happened and the subsequent actions taken, read more.

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.

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Published 13 October 2016