A British nuclear submarine sustained external damage to its conning tower after colliding with a tanker while submerged off Gibraltar.
As HMS Ambush docked in Gibraltar just after 9pm, the Ministry of Defence and the Royal Navy insisted there was “absolutely no damage” to the submarine’s nuclear plant and that no one in the crew had been injured.
Early indications were that the merchant vessel in question had not sustained any damage.
HMS Ambush was conducting an exercise when it hit the vessel at 1.30pm.
Initial reports suggested the incident had taken place in British Gibraltar territorial waters but the Gibraltar Government later said it occurred in international waters at the time.
“At approximately 1330 local time today, HMS Ambush, an Astute-class submarine, while submerged and conducting a training exercise was involved in a glancing collision with a merchant vessel off the coast of Gibraltar,” the Royal Navy said in a statement.
“We are in contact with the merchant vessel and initial indications are that it has not sustained damage.”
“The submarine suffered some external damage but there is absolutely no damage to her nuclear plant and no member of the ship’s company was injured in the incident
“An immediate investigation is being conducted.”
“There are no safety concerns associated with HMS Ambush being alongside.”
The submarine had been operating off Gibraltar as part of the exercise for over a week.
Photo by David Parody.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The original version of this article suggested the incident occurred as the submarine was surfacing. It was, in fact, submerged.