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MOD: Trawler snagged not caused by UK submarine

Skipper Paul Murphy onboard the trawler Karen that was snagged by a submarine last month

THE Ministry of Defence last night confirmed there was no UK submarine activity off the Co Down coast when a fishing boat was apparently dragged by an undersea vessel.

There has been much speculation about what caused the trawler to be hauled through the sea after its fishing nets snared on something 18 miles off the Ardglass coast last month.

The four-man crew of the boat feared for their lives with the men adamant that their nets had been snagged by a submarine.

There was speculation at the time that it was a British or Russian submarine.

However, SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie last night said the MoD had confirmed there was no UK submarine activity at the time.

She has now called on the British government to "reveal who or what country was responsible".

"At that time, I made representations to the Secretaries of State for Defence and Transport in London regarding the need for a full-blown investigation into this matter," she said.

"I have just now been informed in a written parliamentary response from the Ministry of Defence which stated that the 'Royal Navy is confident that no UK submarine was involved in the reported events of the 15th April'.

"Notwithstanding this reported factual information from the MoD, I am in no doubt the confidence exhibited by the Minister of State in the MoD that it was not a Royal Navy vessel suggests that they may know who and what country was responsible."

Ms Ritchie added that it was vital that "those responsible for this act are made accountable and provide monetary compensation to the vessel owner and skipper to defray the costs of damage to the boat and the personal distress that this incident caused the skipper and his crew".

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