• Morgan Fagg

Oooops Periscope: a Sub Standard Service

Remember Remember the 6th of November.

It was just revealed by RTE that a British Nuclear Submarine almost hit a ferry sailing from Northern Ireland to Scotland but the admiralty admirably didn’t admit which of their ten Nuclear Submarines it was. https://www.rte.ie/news/ireland/2019/0121/1024637-submarine-ferry-irish-sea/

The incident happened on the 6th of November but the sneaky sub story has only surfaced in the news now.

This is not the only time a Royal Navy submarine has been entangled in such a

mess off Northern Ireland as an unknown submarine sunk a fishing trawler recently.


The Karen caught a mystery submarine in its nets and was dragged through the Irish Sea. 100 years ago off the Irish coast, history tells of a very dark day in May 1915 when a submarine hit a passenger ship off the coast of Ireland.

May Day May Day, we are talking of course about the Titanic loss of life of the RMS Lusitania which was sunk by the German U-boot U20 and later led to the American entry into World War 1.

U boats have developed much over the last hundred years and all we know about the British boat was that it was Nuclear powered.


In the 1990s England made a U-turn on its U-boat fleet and quickly decommissioned their U series of submarines, the Upholder class of Diesel-electric hunter killers. Starting in 1990 with the Upholder and followed by the Unseen and Ursula in 1991 and 1992, the last boat named HMS Unicorn, was commissioned in 1993 before all four Upholder class boats were decommissioned in 94.

A number of boats have been named Unicorn but I wonder if The Last Unicorn was missed as it slipped beneath the waves and set sail for the Royal Canadian Navy.


Not Upheld, these boats were eventually sold to Canada but not without some difficulties.

Freshly built with that new submarine smell, England sold the boats to Canada and decided to only use nuclear powered boats instead of their newly built Upholder class U-boats.


Four of their nuclear powered boats are armed with nuclear weapons and of the ten boats, one dates back to 1989 when the Cold War was starting to cool off and the last boat HMS Artful was commissioned in 2016 after the BREXIT referendum had been voted for.

These accident prone submarines including the Artful dodger represent A Clear and Present Danger to European shipping as Britania will try to rule the waves with little thought or respect for other countries if we can believe the Britain First mantra and their Ambush and Sabre ratting incidents near Gibraltar.


Armed and dangerous these sneaky steel sharks will lurk in the depts but occasionally rise to periscope dept to see if Theresa May still has a job and see who their current Prime Minister is.

Of course and off-course one of these ten nuclear submarines landed in Gibraltar the day after BREXIT which was meant to re-assure Britains in Gibraltar that Britania still ruled the waves.

HMS Ambush would not have been my first choice of submarines to send into European waters especially as David Cameron had resigned as Prime Minister saying that he could not captain this shi*.

Commissioned in 2013, HMS Ambush got involved in a little fender bender off Gibraltar in 2016 when the Captain apparently, "Took his eye of the ball" for a moment.

I'm not cod-ding you, Cdr Codd with 22 years experience was a teacher for submarine command and students were practicing controlling the submarine at periscope depth.

So what role will these submarines play in a future war against Europe? What dangers will they face in the future and do they know how to navigate European waters considering the leadership problems they seem to be experiencing from 10 Downing Street and where will number 10 send these ten Nuclear submarines?

Apart from Ambushing tankers near Gibraltar, a Royal Navy pistol boat fired flares at a Spanish research vessel which the HMS Sabre said was in British waters. I am sure the Angeles Alvarino which was investigating geological risks to the seabed was in European waters at the time but I do find the Sabre rattling exercise a little worrisome for the future.

Looking deeper into the recent Ferry Close call, there have been many fishing vessels involved in incidents in the Irish Sea which was once known as Submarine Highway.


Back in 1982, a fishing trawler from Clogherhead appears to have caught a Porpoise, 30 miles off Dublin in which the British Government eventually admitted was the HMS Porpoise that sunk The Sheralga and the crew eventually received some compensation for the hit and run situation.

Another trawler Oriel near Clogherhead had to cut nets to avoid a similar faith.


Unlike the 1996 comedy Down Periscope or 1959 film Up Periscope, I wonder how funny it is when your submarine suddenly hits something while checking your mirrors.


Making a spectacle of this sub standard service

I wonder how close the submarine was to the ferry and how often these mishaps occur? I imagine there is an inappropriate Specsavers ad to be made at the expense of the crew and while I might be mocking Sub Standards without ever serving at sea, I believe talking about these near misses can help prevent a much larger incident one day.


These war machines are all nuclear powered and four armed with nuclear weapons and I can't imagine the damage that could happen if a Ferry with capacity for 660 cars and 1,300 passengers lands on a reactor off a nuclear free island such as Ireland.


Loose lips sink ships but no one has yet said which submarine almost sank the ferry which might be for security concerns or because all ten boats were secretly seeking Irish passports at the time or at least one renegade submarine that had watched The Hunt for Red October far too many times caused the other submarines to hunt it back to J P Holland's homeland.


Nearly 100 years ago a submarine sunk a passenger ship off Ireland and sooner or later we will have to ask the awkward question, should the near centenarian Prince Philip still be driving U-boats?






SOURCES: Sabre Rattling:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/11/21/royal-navy-fires-flares-at-spanish-vessel-in-gibraltar/

Eye off the ball: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/feb/15/nuclear-submarine-commander-admits-hazarding-ship-after-collision

The Sheralga: https://www.thejournal.ie/shelga-state-papers-1984-1837788-Jan2015/

The Karen: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/sep/07/mod-admits-british-submarine-dragged-fishing-trawler-through-irish-sea

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