Friday, 22 October 2010
The Trials and Tribulations of being a Sailor
The calmness of the lapping waters surrounding the largest and most northerly island in the Inner Hebrides was disturbed this morning.
One report states a Royal Navy nuclear submarine was grounded on rocks just around three miles from the Isle of Skye road bridge with personnel said to have been trapped on board. The Royal Navy said the boat was on silt not rock.
The grounding of the HMS Astute, which cost £1.2 billion, comes at the end of a dire week for the Royal Navy which has seen its carrier force halved, Harrier jump jets axed and warship force reduced by almost a quarter. The boat, which was handed over to the Navy by its builders BAE Systems in late August. Hopefully it was re-floated at high tide around 7-o'clock. It is then to be towed back to its base at Faslane over the course of several days. It is suggested the boat ran aground outwith the safe sea lane marked on Admiralty charts. The channel that runs underneath the Skye Bridge has red and green buoys known as lateral markers to ensure vessels do not run aground but HMS Astute appeared to be lying in shallow water several hundred metres beyond that safe route. The Admiralty charts show submerged rocks in the area where it got into difficulty.
It's not the first time a submarine has grounded in these regional waters; in November 2002 HMS Trafalgar (S107) ran aground close to Skye, causing £5million worth of damage to her hull and injuring three sailors.
The MoD states: 'We are responding to the incident and can confirm that there are no injuries to personnel and the submarine remains watertight. There is no indication of any environmental impact'. Make of that what you will. This blogger has done with an amusing slant.
It is believe the boat was undergoing sea trials as it is not expected to enter service until next year. Would a change of navigator be beneficial or is that done with computer software these days? It would seem that the reliance is on modern technology.
Back in September the BBC Defence news team reported on how the HMS Astute was in a class of her own. Today it's bottom of the class. We've got to be grateful there are no icebergs floating round these waters.