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the deep

Urgent talks sought with British government over submarine 'dragging' fishing trawler

The boat was badly damaged in the collision.

THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT is being called on to clarify what it knows about a collision between a trawler and what is believed to have been a submarine off Co Down on Wednesday.

The Karen, which was fishing for prawns 18 miles off Ardglass, was suddenly dragged backwards at high speed, causing severe damage to the ship.

The crew on board believe a submarine caught on the ship’s nets, and could have dragged the boat under water if action had not been taken to release the fishing gear.

“We’re lucky that we were on a fairly big, robust boat,” skipper Paul Murphy said yesterday.

Anything smaller would have been pulled straight under. We had very little time to react.

Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness issued a statement last night calling for action from the British government.

The UK Ministry of Defence declined to comment on the incident yesterday.

“This is an extremely serious incident and very concerning for the entire fishing fleet,” McGuinness said.

Stormont House talks Brian Lawless / PA Wire Brian Lawless / PA Wire / PA Wire

I have contacted the British government today seeking urgent discussions regarding this incident. I believe they have very serious questions to answer, particularly amid concerns that the vessel involved could have been part of the hugely controversial Trident nuclear fleet.

He warned that the lives of fishermen could be put in danger by the ‘reckless actions of submarines, whatever country they belong to’.

Mystery surrounds the origin of submarine. A Nato exercise is currently taking place off the coast of Scotland, but protocol for allied submarines if that they must surface after a collision, prompting speculation that the vessel may have been Russian.

Read: Where did the submarine that ‘dragged’ a trawler off Co Down come from?

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