The Royal Navy is still assessing the damage sustained by HMS Ambush in a collision last week and has yet to decide whether the submarine will be repaired in Gibraltar, the Ministry of Defence said yesterday.
Royal Navy technicians are conducting a detailed assessment of the damage to the vessel before deciding on a course of action.
“The assessment will inform the way ahead and the next steps,” an MoD spokesman told the Chronicle.
The damage is external and has not impacted on the hull integrity of the submarine, “…which could return to sea if necessary.”
The £1.1bn Astute-class submarine suffered damage to its conning tower during a glancing collision with a chemical tanker while submerged off Gibraltar. There were no injuries or pollution, and the MoD has repeatedly stated that there was no damage to the submarine’s nuclear plant.
In a related development, the MoD has also confirmed that the UK’s Defence Safety Authority [DSA] is conducting an “independent service inquiry” into the circumstances surrounding the collision.
The DSA is an independent organisation formed in April 2015 and empowered by the Secretary of State for Defence to undertake the roles of regulator, accident investigation and defence authority for safety.
Its key roles include regulating safety across defence in terms of aviation, nuclear, maritime, land, ordnance and explosives, and fire.
It is also responsible for investigating defence accidents such as last week’s collision.
The DSA’s inquiry is already under way but no further details have been released at this early stage.
“It would be inappropriate to comment further while the investigation is ongoing,” the MoD spokesman said.
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