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.

24 comments:

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Brilliant example of the stealth capabilities of these boats.

Bloody sandbank didn't know what hit it.

Joe Public said...

"The Trials and Tribulations of being a Sailor"

Following the cuts, here's the future.......

http://www.b3ta.com/board/10226740

tris said...

Memo to whoever it is that's the enemy these days:

Please don't attack for a few more weeks.

JRB said...

Speed bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,
Onward, the sailors cry
Carry the lad that's born to be king
Over the sea to Skye.

Loud the winds howl, loud the waves roar,
Thunder clouds rend the air;
Baffled our foe's stand on the shore
Follow they will not dare

Speed bonnie boat …


…but for Gawds sake watch out for the shingle bank !!!

Crunch !!!

Ooops!!!

ROFLMAO

cynicalHighlander said...

Didn't they have GPS installed?

RMcGeddon said...

Maybe they were testing it for use in Afghanistan. Better armour than the snatch landrover. Able to carry hundreds of troops and it can sit on the sand for months at a time before being towed back to base. Perfect.

subrosa said...

Good one RA. :)

subrosa said...

Excellent Joe. You may not be too far off the mark though. After all, what are we going to do with the mass unemployed?

subrosa said...

I think you're looking on the bright side Tris. More like months I should think.

subrosa said...

I know John, you wouldn't believe it in a novel would you.

subrosa said...

I think it was something far more 'superior' to GPS CH. Maybe they ought to return to the old fashioned wheel.

subrosa said...

I'm not sure the under water radar reflection tiles would work on the surface RM but hey, they could try it.

RMcGeddon said...

They're not radar reflection tiles SR but radar absorbing tiles to avoid giving themselves away to the ruskies sonar.
Plus of course the Taliban would just put sandbanks everywhere and catch us out that way. The rotters.

Dark Lochnagar said...

Perhaps the Captain was buggering the cabin boy, at the time and took his eye off the ball, so to speak?

Conan the Librarian™ said...

Well, the navigator is certainly grounded...

Tcheuchter said...

It would seem they failed to pay proper attention to the 6 knot tide that runs through there.

subrosa said...

The captain's going to be grounded too by the sound of things Conan. Some newspapers are talking about a court marshall already.

subrosa said...

I would have thought they would know these waters well Tcheuchter. They're on their doorstep really.

subrosa said...

No DL, I don't think the Navy have cabin boys these days. They make their own bunks.

Dramfineday said...

The questions for the navy should be, what is an essentially deep water boat doing in shallow waters and channels? Is it a) testing to see if it can "do" shallow waters as our shallow water diesel subs are almost non existent, b) being in shallow water to allow the various spy satellites to calibrate to the subs undersea waste plume, c) being involved in a bit of "gung ho" and nerve testing, d) running away from a passing shoal of mackerel thinking it was a soviet sub? And while we’re at it why is this monster putting its huge self in the way of our fishermen? I think we should be told! Slaps all round with wet seaweed for the crew and the MOD.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

No Dram sorry; cant think of one logical reason for any sub to be in water it can't float in?

subrosa said...

Dram, I'm with RA on this ( see his comment above). Also surely they know the seas round that area.

On another blog I read a Skye resident who said he wouldn't take his small boat near that area. Wish I could give you the link but I've lost it.

Dramfineday said...

C&RAP & SR 1) It's not floating it's stuck on a sand bank, (well not no more but you know what I mean) 2) Obviously they don't, otherwise they would have avoided the sand bank in the first place and 3) I don't blame the men in little boats keeping out of the area - I'd be too feart myself!

However I will concede, having gone and looked at the general outline spec for the boat that it does have a design capability for carrying special forces. Ergo it has to be able to operate in shallow water to drop them off.

BUT and there's always a BUT, the special external room required for these ops did not appear to be fitted. So what was going on?

One good thing may come out of it, perhaps the grounding has revealed a hole in the computer software or the sonar screen that allowed the bank to creep up on it.

Meantime I'll stick to my original propsition, slaps all round with wet seaweed (and in the spirit of generosity I will extend this to the design team if it is ever revealed that the sub didn't see the bank coming).

subrosa said...

Dram, I heard on the news this morning that there may have been out of date maps used. Haven't had a chance to hear the latest news.

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