Bugaled Breizh: how its sinking prompted 17-year fight for answers

1 year ago 112

It sounds similar the crippled of a thriller. A sportfishing vessel sinks disconnected the Cornish seashore arsenic submarines converge for a naval exercise. Years of allegations, conspiracy theories, and denials by subject chiefs follow.

More than 17 years aft the Bugaled Breizh sank with the nonaccomplishment of its 5 unit members, bereaved relatives stay convinced a submarine pulled the trawler down, but an inquest has now ruled otherwise.

What happened to the Bugaled Breizh connected 15 January 2004?

The 24-metre-long Bugaled Breizh – whose sanction means “children of Brittany” successful the Breton connection – was sportfishing 15 nautical miles southbound of Lizard Point connected a unsmooth time erstwhile it sank. A large aerial and oversea rescue was launched but nary of the 5 unit members were saved.

What investigations person taken place?

The sinking was investigated for years by the French maritime authorities and courts. There are 2 theories: either it sank aft its trawl cogwheel burrowed into the seabed – a “soft snag” – oregon that a submarine became entangled successful its warps, dense lines that link a vessel to its nets. In July 2008 the French investigating judges stated that lone the engagement of a submarine provided a coherent explanation. However, they could not place immoderate submarine arsenic having been present.

Were determination submarines successful the Channel astatine the time?

Yes, 3 allied submarines were there, acceptable to instrumentality portion successful a Nato exercise. Closest was the Dutch submarine Dolfijn, which reported that it was astir 11 nautical miles from the sinking astatine the time. A German submarine, the U22, was much than 40 nautical miles distant and the British submarine HMS Torbay astir 100 nautical miles away. Dolfijn helped successful the search and rescue mission. Its beingness amazed some. One rescuer, Philip Burgess, the coxswain of an RNLI lifeboat, said helium had ne'er seen a submarine progressive successful a rescue. “They’re a secretive lot,” helium told the inquest. The aviator of a navy rescue chopper claimed astatine the inquest that his commanding serviceman told them: “We don’t request to notation the submarine.” The aviator said helium recovered this “strange”.

Could determination person been immoderate different submarines successful the area?

Relatives person agelong suspected that a 2nd British submarine, HMS Turbulent, was involved. The inquest heard testimony from the UK’s astir elder submarine commanders that it was berthed successful Devonport, Plymouth, that day. Another mentation was that a US submarine was successful the Channel keeping an oculus connected the loading of atomic discarded successful France. The US has said nary of its submarines were wrong 100 nautical miles. The Royal Navy said it was definite nary non-allied submarines were wrong 50 nautical miles.

Has this convinced the families?

No. The families bash not judge the brushed snag theory. They reason the unit were excessively experienced to fto specified an mishap happen. In tribunal their barrister, Oliver Hymans, said that though nary submarine had yet been placed astatine the scene, the brushed snag thought did not explicate the sinking.

Could determination person been a cover-up?

Commander Daniel Simmonds, liable for each UK submarine tasking, told the inquest it was “unthinkable” that logs and different documents signaling the allied submarines’ positions had been falsified. But the families were aggravated they were not allowed to telephone into question the credibility of the navy by asking the commanders astir the lawsuit of the Karen, a trawler whose cogwheel was snagged by a Royal Navy submarine successful 2015 disconnected Northern Ireland. The UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch criticised the navy for not revealing until astir 5 months aft the incidental that a submarine was involved. Hymans said they had wanted to usage the lawsuit of the Karen to trial the MoD’s credibility.