Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Grounded nuclear sub towed free

HMS Astute has been freed after it ran aground off the coast of the Isle of Skye
Nuclear powered submarine HMS Astute ran aground in shallow waters during sea trials
HMS Astute became stuck on a shingle bank between the Scottish mainland and the Isle of Skye

A nuclear-powered submarine which ran aground on a shingle bank has been towed free, the Royal Navy said.

HMS Astute was on sea trials when the rudder of the vessel is thought to have become stuck on a shingle bank on the west coast of Scotland at around 8am on Friday.

The incident happened between the mainland and the Isle of Skye. There were no reports of any injuries and the Ministry of Defence said it was not a "nuclear incident".

It is believed a crew transfer from the shore to the submarine was being carried out when the incident happened.

The vessel was towed free by a tug at around 6pm and will now be towed to deep water where a survey will be carried out on its rudder. Although HMS Astute was pulled off the shingle by a tug she is now operating under her own power, the Royal Navy said.

The vessel will remain overnight in deep water. On Saturday she will be assessed and attached to a buoy or remain in deep water, if that is deemed more appropriate, to allow a survey to take place.

A Royal Navy spokesman said: "It is a continuous process of assessment of the situation."

Scottish CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) expressed concern at the incident. John Ainslie, co-ordinator of Scottish CND, said: "This is just the latest in a long line of incidents involving nuclear submarines off the west coast of Scotland."

Professor Carl Ross, a lecturer in the mechanical and design engineering department at the University of Portsmouth, worked on the structural engineering of HMS Dreadnought before its launch in 1960.

Asked whether he was surprised by the incident, he said: "They shouldn't go aground. Something has gone wrong. I'm not sure what it is, whether it is man-made or machine-made. It could be either."

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