British MoD Reveals Number Of Royal Navy Submarine Fires And Collisions
In response to a question submitted in Parliament following the recent collision between British and French SSBNs, the British Ministry of Defence (sic) announced that British nuclear-powered submarines have had 230 fires and 14 collisions in the last 21 years. Excerpts from a BBC article:
The other incidents consisted of groundings, collisions with fishing vessels and HMS Tireless's coming together with an iceberg while on arctic patrol in 2003.A press release by the anti-nuclear SNP detailed the 14 collisions:
Mr Ainsworth said: "The Royal Navy has no records of collisions between nuclear powered submarines and other submarines and naval vessels other than the recent incident involving HMS Vanguard and French submarine Le Triomphant."...
...The MoD described the 213 "small-scale" fires as "localised" incidents, such as a minor electrical fault, "dealt with quickly and effectively using minimal onboard resources".
In contrast, the 21 "medium-scale" fires were caused by the failure of mechanical equipment, "requiring use of significant onboard resources". Three further fires broke out while vessels were docked at a naval base.
HMS Superb grounding in the Red Sea in May 2008.This works out to one collision/snagging/grounding about every 18 months; this seems to be about half as often as the U.S. Navy has problems with its submarines. On the other hand, since we have significantly more that twice as many submarines, and have correspondingly more subamarine-days of operation per year, I'd say that the rate of accidents in the U.S. Submarine Force is significantly less than it is for the Brits. Will this finally put to rest the old canard that we Americans should adopt the British model of only allowing non-nuclear trained officers to command submarines because they're supposedly better and more experienced mariners?
HMS Tireless struck an iceberg while on Arctic Patrol in May 2003.
HMS Trafalgar grounded on Fladda-chuain in November 2002.
HMS Triumph grounded in November 2000.
HMS Victorious grounded, while surfaced, on Skelmorlie Bank in November 2000.
HMS Trenchant grounded off the coast of Australia in July 1997.
HMS Repulse grounded in the North Channel in July 1996.
HMS Trafalgar grounded off the Isle of Sky in July 1996.
HMS Valliant grounded in the North Norwegian Sea in March 1991.
HMS Trenchant snagged the fishing vessel Antares in the Arran Trench in November 1990.
HMS Spartan grounded west of Scotland in October 1989.
HMS Sceptre snagged the fishing vessel Scotia in November 1989.
HMS Conqueror collided with the yacht Dalriada off the Northern Irish coast in July 1988.
All the vessels, apart from HMS Superb, which was decommissioned in October 2008, were repaired and returned to service.