A nuclear-powered HMS Ambush submarine collided with a merchant vessel and was forced into port in Gibraltar.
An immediate investigation has been launched after HMS Ambush was involved in the “glancing” collision while submerged off the coast of Gibraltar, the Royal Navy said.
The Astute-class submarine was not carrying nuclear weapons as it is not part of Britain's ballistic missile submarine fleet, a ministry spokesman said.
The submarine got “some external damage” but no crew members were injured in the incident. The attack submarine’s nuclear reactor was also undamaged. Further checks would be carried out but there are no safety concerns, said the Navy.
“At approximately 1.30pm local time today [Wednesday], HMS Ambush, an Astute-class submarine, while submerged and conducting a training exercise was involved in a glancing collision with a merchant vessel off the coast of Gibraltar,” a statement posted on the Ministry of Defence website said.
“We are in contact with the merchant vessel and initial indications are that it has not sustained damage. The submarine suffered some external damage but there is absolutely no damage to her nuclear plant and no member of the ship’s company was injured in the incident. An immediate investigation is being conducted. The submarine will be entering Gibraltar later this evening for further checks. There are no safety concerns associated with HMS Ambush being alongside,” was also mentioned in the statement.
The Astute-class are the largest, most advanced and most powerful attack submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy. The collision took place despite the submarine was equipped with “world-leading sensors”.