PARIS, Feb 17 (KUNA) -- The stealth capacity of modern, nuclear submarines
may have been the cause of a crash between French and British nuclear
submarines earlier this month and the two vessels may not have even have been
aware they had hit another vessel, officials and Defence Ministry sources said
The incident, which apparently took place on February 3-4, was only leaked
last Sunday in a British newspaper and confirmed 36 hours later here in Paris.
Frances "Le Triomphant" and Britains "HMS Vanguard" ran into each other
in the Atlantic Ocean while on routine patrol.
Both vessels are nuclear-powered and are also equipped with up to 48
nuclear warheads carried on 16 Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs),
According to a version of the incident, recounted Tuesday by Defence
Minister Herve Morin, the commander of the French vessel thought he had hit a
floating container and surfaced to inspect the zone.
The French submarine immediately returned to base, as it had suffered sonar
Morin affirmed that the British only realized something had happened when
they were contacted by the French side.
The HMS Vanguard apparently continued its mission after the crash but was
later taken to Scotland for repairs.
"Our submarine went back to Brest, the British submarine continued its
patrol and it is when we reported the incident that the British "contacted us,
" Morin said on "Canal Plus" television.
Asked about how such an unprecedented incident could occur with such modern
vessels, Morin replied that such vessels are "undetectable" and make "less
noise than a shrimp."
He said that to avoid such incidents in the future, France and Britain
could get together and discuss their operational zones. (end)
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