London: Britain`s newest nuclear submarine,
which became stranded on a sandbank off the coast of Scotland
last month, has now been damaged in a collision with a tug
that came to rescue it, the Navy said.
The one-billion-pound HMS Astute was towed free on
October 22 after its rudder got stuck while undertaking sea
trials near the Isle of Skye.
It was freed by tugs ten hours later but collided with
one of the rescue vessels, thought to be the Anglian Prince,
heaping further embarrassment on the country`s military.
"There was a collision between Astute and a tug, which
resulted in damage to the submarine`s starboard foreplane," a
Navy spokesman said last night.
"This will be repaired at Faslane (naval base) and trials
will resume in due course."
It is thought that the incident occurred between the Isle
of Skye and the mainland as crew were being transferred from
the shore to the submarine.
The Ministry of Defence confirmed the incident in a
statement and said investigations were underway to determine
the extent of the repairs.
Astute was commissioned into the Navy in August after
being named and launched by Prince Charles`s wife Camilla, the
Duchess of Cornwall, in 2007.
The 7,800-tonne craft`s nuclear reactor means it will
never have to refuel in its 25-year lifespan and is capable of
circumnavigating the globe without resurfacing.
The vessel, which was built by defence firm BAE Systems
in Cumbria, northern England, can carry a mix of up to 38
Spearfish torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles.
The incident came a year after British and French
submarines collided in the Atlantic, damaging both vessels.