Nuclear submarine’s near-miss with Cairnryan ferry revealed

A full investigation is to take place into near-miss between submarine and Cairnryan ferry
A full investigation is to take place into near-miss between submarine and Cairnryan ferry

The revelation that a Cairnryan ferry was nearly in collision with a Royal Navy nuclear submarine has been described as “extremely worrying” by a local politician.

While there were thought to be no atomic weapons on board the navy boat, it did have nuclear-powered engines and there are deep concerns that much of the Galloway coast could have suffered radiation pollution had the two vessels actually collided.

The possible effects on the passengers and crew of the 1,300 capacity Stena Superfast VII ferry involved can only be imagined.

Now the area’s SNP MSP Emma Harper has expressed her alarm at news of the near-miss on November 6.

It was only made public this week following the announcement that an investigation into what happened will be carried out by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB).

The South Scotland MSP will now write to the UK’s Secretary of State for Defence, Gavin Williamson to seek “clarifications on the incident and to ask to be kept up to date with the progress of the investigation.”

Ms Harper also seeks to raise the issue at First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood.

Commenting, she said: “This is extremely troubling news that such a near-miss between a passenger ferry and nuclear-powered submarine occurred in the Irish Sea just two months ago.

“There is a clear public interest in getting to the bottom of what happened. For starters, the MoD should be clear over whether the sub in question was carrying nuclear weapons and what the consequences might have been in the event of a collision.

“I intend to raise concerns with the Scottish Government and to ask whether they have been briefed on the serious questions over public safety arising from the incident.

“Nuclear weapons have no place in Scotland.

“Troubling events like these reaffirm the need to get rid of these expensive and dangerous submarines from our waters once and for all, before a near miss becomes a disaster.”