The British Royal Navy has a small fleet of submarines, all of which are nuclear powered. It is unfortunate that yet another incident involving a British submarine has occurred close to Gibraltar. This only adds to the tension between Britain and Spain involving "The Rock", especially as there is a strong anti-nuclear lobby on the Spanish side of the border.

This latest incident involved a British Astute class submarine in an incident with a merchant vessel, meaning that it had to return to port in Gibraltar. It was a minor incident but it has already caused some controversy. It must be remembered that a British nuclear-powered submarine, the Tireless, was based at Gibraltar for more than ten months after problems with its nuclear reactor. It caused an outcry in Spain. Interestingly enough, the new Governor of Gibraltar was commander of the Tireless at the time of this incident.

But yet again a British submarine is in the news for the wrong reasons. HMS Ambush is undergoing repairs in Gibraltar. Her sister ship, HMS Astute, ran aground close to the Scottish naval base at Faslane and another British nuclear submarine was damaged by an iceberg. All this in the space of about three years. And Britain only has seven nuclear-powered attack submarines. At a time when the British submarine fleet continues to decline it is regrettable that these incidents occur. Yet again a British submarine is out of service because of an incident. Not good.


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