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Compensation sought for Co Down trawler damaged by royal navy sub

The captain of the 'Karen' fishing vessel, Paul Murphy, examines the damage at Ardglass Harbour after being snagged by a Royal Navy submarine Picture by Justin Kernoghan
John Monaghan

THE Royal Navy must fully explain how a submarine dragged a Co Down fishing trawler out to sea, the MP for South Down has said.

The 'Karen' vessel, which was sent careering backwards through the water after the submarine snagged its fishing nets off the Ardglass coast in April, was badly damaged but the four crew escaped unharmed.

Initially defence minister Penny Mordaunt said she was confident a British submarine was not involved but in a a statement released earlier this month admitted the Royal Navy had caused the damage.

Margaret Ritchie, who is to meet Ms Mourdant, said: "I have now been told that the government knew from the 6th August that it was a Royal Navy vessel."

"The information for that particular day which is relayed to fishermen did not indicate that there would be a submarine in the vicinity of Ardglass waters? Why was that the case?"

She added: "I hope that in the meeting it will be possible to ensure that full and adequate compensation is paid to the owner and skipper of the Karen vessel, and that such incidents involving MOD submarines do not interfere with fishing efforts in the Irish Sea."

Sinn Féin Agriculture Minister, Michelle O'Neill, said "guarantees" were needed to ensure there would not be a repeat incident.

"The fishermen involved were very fortunate to survive that incident," she said.

"After such strong, initial denials by the British Navy I am appalled that it has taken them five months to actually admit that it was their responsibility."

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