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HMS Vanguard

Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what reports he has received from the First Sea Lord on the recent collision between HMS Vanguard and Le Triomphant; whether the crew of HMS Vanguard sustained any injuries; whether he plans to commission an inquiry into the incident; and if he will make a statement. (258750)

Two submerged SSBN, one French and the other UK, were conducting routine national patrols in the Atlantic Ocean. The two submarines came into contact at very low speed. Both submarines remained safe and no injuries occurred. I can confirm that the UK’s deterrent capability has remained unaffected at all times and there has been no compromise to nuclear safety. HMS Vanguard returned safely to Faslane under her own power on 14 February.

As one would expect, the MOD takes this incident very seriously and a thorough review is under way. We will act on any lessons that might be identified.