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Volume 163: debated on Monday 4 December 1989

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what instructions are given to submarine commanders regarding their conduct when their submarines become entangled in fishing nets.

The guidance given to a submarine commander in the event of his vessel becoming entangled with the nets of a trawler is designed to ensure that the safety of human life is given paramount consideration.The instructions require:

  • (a) the submarine to come to periscope depth to check visually for any vessels in distress and establish communications where circumstances permit:
  • (b) the naval authorities to be immediately informed of the incident and, if appropriate, the coastguard contacted;
  • (c) that, if fishing nets are still attached to the submarine, every effort is to be made to recover them—if this is not possible a note of the position in which the gear was lost is to be taken; and
  • (d) the submarine not to leave the area until it has been established beyond all reasonable doubt that no danger to human life exists as a result of the incident.