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PostPosted: 19-01-2004 21:06    Post subject: Pirates off Penzance? Reply with quote

French trawler 'was rammed hard'

A fishing trawler which sank 19 miles off the Cornish coast last Thursday was rammed by a larger vessel before going down, a French prosecutor says.

Two bodies were recovered and three crew are still missing after the French Bugaled Breizh sank in an area where multinational naval exercises are held.

Prosecutor Roland Eisch said photos of the sunken trawler suggested it had suffered a "very violent" collision.

He said a massive vessel - probably a container ship - had rammed its bow.

Warships eliminated

The Bugaled Breizh, from the port of Loctudy in Brittany, sank off Lizard Point on 15 January.

Mr Eisch says the positions of all the warships in the area had been determined and they could not have been responsible.

Reactions in the western French port town of Loctudy have been furious.

"It's murderous behaviour. These are not people of the sea," Michel Cap, director of the Loctudy sea rescue service said.

"I can believe that on board a cargo ship they did not hear the shock of the collision, but it is impossible to believe the crew did not hear the distress signal put out by the British on channel 16," he added.

Andre le Berre, president of the Brittany Fishing Committee, said there could have been survivors if the larger ship had stopped.

Speaking on French television station La Chaine Info TV, Mr Eisch said he was considering a charge of involuntary manslaughter, "that is to say, breaking the rules of navigation which were in force in that zone".

He would open a judicial inquiry to begin the process of identifying the boat and its captain, he added.

It had previously been thought bad weather was to blame.

Last edited by Yithian on 19-01-2004 21:09; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: 20-01-2004 01:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

And if you really wish to know more about this, I suggest you don't
type "rammed hard" into a search engine. Eek Eek
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PostPosted: 20-01-2004 01:58    Post subject: Reply with quote

Either sounds like something from "The Spy Who Loved Me" gone wrong (perhaps they realised they weren't about to steal a nuclear submarine and swerved at the last minute??) or it was one of those island-sized sea monsters (again!!).

I ould have thought in this day and age - esp. in such a well travelled are as that that most big ships would be tracked by their GPS and it would be possible to find out who was in the area) or are my visions of a maritime version of air traffic control off? I was sure I've seen something on the monitoring of traffic in the English channel for example (it must be really necessary for bust seaways). Then again the farce of those ships running into the sunken car container ship (despite the warnings and coatsal vessels) doens't inspire me with too much confidence Wink

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PostPosted: 20-01-2004 09:43    Post subject: Reply with quote

it is very posible for a container ship to run down a small vessel without even noticeing..they have few crew and no one up the sharp end to watch and drive on fuel economiseing auto pilot allthe time they are out of port. However first reports were that the boat sank within sight of other boats, and they didnt see it run down. The weather was diabolical and a fishing boat can catch a trawl on the bottom and pull its self under. they fish in weather that you wouldnt drive a car in, next time u eat fish fingers remeber what they have had to go thro to get em.... that area of the Lizard looks evil at the best of times with currents convergeing etc..and there are washed off containers known to be about...hitting one is anightmare of any ship, or snagging one in a net...just dont bear thinking about.
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PostPosted: 15-10-2011 11:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm surprised that it has not been mentioned since. A summary of the later developments of this affair here, although too brief for such a complex case :

One recent development :

Bugaled Breizh : a British officer is accused

30/07/2010, 15:45

The son of one of the five sailors who were lost in the sinking of the britton trawler in 2004, requests that the captain of the submariner Turbulent should be indicted. This officer would have admitted that he had pulled under the Bugaled Breizh.

Seven years after the wrecking of the Bugaled Breizh, families of the five dead sailors may have found someone responsible. The son of one of the victims found a witness, who incriminated the commander of the nuclear attack submarine Turbulent. Refering to his informant and a number of declassifed files, Thierry Lemétayer asked Friday for Andrew Coles to be indicted for unvoluntary manslaughter, during an hearing by an instructor judge from Nantes.

Thierry Lemétayer whose father, a boat mechanic, died during the sinking on 15 January 2004 off Lizard Point (South-West of England), was taken into confidence by a French informant. This witness had recently met captain Coles. The officer would have tell him that while diving the Turbulent had caught the trawler lines of the Bugaled Breizh and had pulled it under at a high speed. The commander had supposedly admitted this after the wrecking on a Scottish beach in October 2010 of L'Astute, another nuclear attack submariner under his command. The 47 year-old man barely avoided being court-martialed, but was judged responsible of the accident and has been grounded in offices until he gets retired.

A commander nicknamed "Stumpy".

When he was interrogated by the judiciary in 2006, Andrew Coles claimed Turbulent had remained in Devenport, a military port in Plymouth, from 14 November 2003 until the day following the wrecking on 16 Januray 2004. However some declassified files suggest on the contrary that the submariner was out at sea during the tragedy, lending weight to a hitching with the Bugaled Breizh. A NATO communication noted that Turbulent was intended to sail as soon as 12 January. She was notably tasked to infiltrate secretly a naval exercise. Another intriguing detail, the magazine Le Marin revealed on late December that the French submariner Rubis had received a message of problem from the Turbulent on 15 January, the day of the tragedy.

"His peers nickname Andrew Coles "Stumpy", not an indication that they hold his competency in high estime", Thierry lemétayer said to Le Télégramme. He has not lost hope to convince his informant to come public and to speak to the judge in charge of the case. Despite that he has little hope of success, he has also made a call to witness to the 80 to 100 people who were aboard the Turbulent during the tragedy. He also accuses "French and British navies, as well as former minister of Defense Michèle Alliot-Marie, who lied actively and by omission".

The Bugaled Breizh was found at a depth of about 80 meters with 140 more meters of cable drawn out on the port side. The families and the fishing community quickly suggested the lead of an accident caused by a submariner. Many ships were present in the area, where military exercises involving NATO countries were taking place. But the administrative inquiry of the BEA Mer had concluded on late 2006 that it was an accident caused by the fact that the trawl had been caught in a sandbank, followed by sea water overwhelming the rear part and the cabin. The family had been outraged, denouncing a "state lie". Finally, new expert's studies relaunched the submariner lead. Until now, suspicion was put mainly on three vessels : a Dutch submariner, an American ship and Turbulent.

It was followed by the usual denegations. It is not the only lead to have been put forward recently. Notably, on 7 December 2010, the Court of Rennes was authorized to follow the possibility of a US submersible that was cruising in the area. What is sure is that the physical and anecdotal evidence do support the involvment of a submariner and the existence of a subsequent cover-up. It is not unprecedented, the most striking example being the sinking of the Irish trawler Sheralga in 1982, revealed only six years later.




In 1982 the Royal Navy sank an Irish trawler and attempted an unsuccesful
cover up. It seems they may be at it again only this time five men died.

Fresh concerns that the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) may have
covered-up the sinking of the Breton trawler, Bugaled Breizh, in which
five fishermen died have surfaced.

A new book (recently highlighted on Celtic News) claims that the trawler
was snagged and towed under by the Royal Navy submarine, HMS Turbulent,
during "war games" off the Cornish coast.

The book details a confidential Nato document that contradicts the
MoD assertion that the submarine, HMS Turbulent, was at Devonport
naval base in Plymouth when the French trawler, the Bugaled Breizh,
went down in January 2004.

If the claim is proved it will not be the first time the MoD has covered
up such an incident. In 1982 the Celtic League successfully exposed
just such a cover up after the Royal Navy submarine, HMS Porpoise,
sank the Irish trawler, Sheralga, of Co. Louth. In that incident although
the crew were eventually rescued by another fishing vessel the submarine
left the area of the sinking without surfacing. It was two weeks before
the MoD in the face of mounting evidence owned up to the sinking.
They eventually paid both the Sheralga's owner and crew substantial
compensation. However no amount of money could compensate for the
trauma the crew felt at being abandoned to their fate in the middle
of the Irish sea without a life raft.

Pressure is mounting on the British government over the latest allegations.
Member of the UK parliament, Andrew George, the Liberal Democrat
MP for West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, has written to Adam
Ingram, the armed forces minister, and put down parliamentary questions
asking him to respond to the allegations. Mr. Ingram has so far failed
to reply.

It seems increasingly likely that the Bugaled Breizh loss was the
result of a military accident with assertions that both the British
and French Navies conspired to conceal the truth.

J B Moffatt
Director of Information
Celtic League


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Great Old One
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PostPosted: 15-10-2011 11:59    Post subject: Reply with quote

An old review of suspected and confirmed accidents involving submersibles. Other instances have added to the list since.

Dáil Éireann - Volume 387 - 07 March, 1989

Adjournment Debate. - Sinking of Belgian Trawler.

An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Hugh Byrne gave me notice of his intention to raise on the Adjournment the incident involving the sinking of a Belgian trawler in the Irish Sea allegedly by a submarine.

[2624] Mr. Byrne: I thank you for giving me permission to raise this vital issue of submarine activity in the Irish Sea. There is as I have said on many occasions before as much submarine traffic in the Irish Sea as there is vehicular traffic in O'Connell Street. The loss of the Belgian trawler and the five crew members is the latest in a succession of incidents involving submarines with various seagoing vessels mainly fishing trawlers. The list is endless, a Cheann Comhairle, but it is necessary at this stage to list them. It is my intention to go through them in chronological order.

On 18 April 1982 we had the sinking of the Sheralga by HMS Porpoise with all fishermen on board left to drown. Britain at first denied that they were involved but when they were flushed out they admitted it. On 18 April 1982 a fishing vessel, Crimson Dawn, had nets entangled, was towed along by a submarine entangled in the same nets, and the nets, costing £15,000, were eventually lost. In the summer of 1982 the Galvanor disappeared losing all its crew with the suspicion of interference by submarines. On 12 January 1983 the Site d'Aleth, a Breton vessel was lost off the Wexford coast with ten crew members drowned and there was clear indication of interference by a submarine.

In 1983 a yacht was struck by a submarine, believed to be the HMS Opos-sum, off Wexford. On 3 February 1984 the vessel Jeanne de Lorraine was towed backwards arising from an entanglement with a submarine. In December 1984 a fishing vessel, the Algrie became entangled with the HMS Spartan off the Cornwall coast. On 8 April 1984 a fishing vessel became entangled with a submarine off the eastern Irish coast, between Dublin and the Isle of Man — its nets were cut and it was towed for three miles by the submarine.

In 1984 also a US submarine surfaced in the middle of a fishing fleet which was working from Kilmore Quay off the coast of Wexford, in my own constituency, and thank God there was no accidents. When those fishermen contacted me they told [2625] me that as soon as the submarine surfaced they left that area for home in absolute fear of their lives. On 30 July 1984 a submarine was in tow off the Isle of Man leading to a suspicion of a serious submarine accident or incident at sea. On 11 August 1984 another submarine was seen to be in a tow off the Isle of Man's south coast, again giving rise to speculation about accidents or incidents at sea. It has been confirmed since then that the submarine was the Nathaniel Greene. She had lost a propeller and was returned under tow to Holy Lock. That submarine went back into commission and in 1986 she was returned under tow once again to Holy Lock, minus a large section of her bow. She had lain on the sea bed for three days. That submarine contained two reactors. I thank God we did not have a release of radioactivity. That submarine was eventually towed to the USA where she has since been decommissioned.

I would like to thank today's issue of The Irish Times for the following information. In may 1984 from Portavogie, County Down, the Willing Land and the Family Friend cut their nets to avoid sinking while being towed astern. In the same month the South Stack disappeared south east of the Isle of Man with all hands lost. On 20 February 1985 a Scottish fishing vessel the Mhari L disappeared off the Isle of Man with all hands, in good weather and no distress call was made. A damaged British submarine entered Fastane base 24 hours later. The Ministry of Defence said that the Mhari L was dragged under by a telephone cable on the seabed. The relatives of those lost are still investigating that incident and pressing for an inquiry.

On 18 February 1987 a Northern Ireland boat, Summer Morn, was towed astern for several hours by a US submarine. The submarine surfaced after RAF helicopters were alerted by using a hydrophone. In fact, the media were invited to see the final goings on in that incident. On 20 September 1987 four were drowned when the Boy Shaun, a crab fishing boat, was sunk by a “freak” wave off County Donegal. A submarine [2626] was later spotted in that area by Irish Press reporters. On 9 November 1987 there was another incident involving the loss of £20,000 worth of nets off the Isle of Man. On 16 July 1988 the yacht Drum collided with the HMS Oberon leaving a 20ft. gash above the waterline. In July 1988 the yacht Dalriada was sunk by the HMS Conqueror off the Northern Ireland coast. This is the infamous submarine which sunk the Belgrano.

On 5 September 1988 the crab fishing boat Inspire, sank off the Welsh coast when hit by a freak wave. Submarines on exercises were known to be in the area. Four people were drowned. On 3 January 1989 an Ayr based trawler was struck near the Clyde by the US submarine Will Rogers. On 22 January 1989 a Fleetwood trawler the Lau Ann was towed astern by a submarine for three-quarters of an hour off the Mull of Kintyre. That brings us to the latest incident. A Belgian trawler, a relatively new trawler, a 1973 beamer 143 tonnes, almost the size of a small coaster, the Tijl Uilenspiegel sank in the Irish Sea. It appears that the Tijl Uilenspiegel was towed under with the loss of all five crew members. One body and some fish boxes is all that has yet been recovered.

I have now established from contacts in various locations that a Posoidon class submarine left its British base at Faslane on 3 March. It was in the area of the accident and returned to base on Monday, 6 March — three days at sea for a submarine which normally stays at sea for a month.

The Celtic League in the Isle of Man, under the leadership of Mr. Bernard Moffatt, keep a very close eye on all submarine activity in the Irish Sea. They know full well that it was an incident involving that particular submarine. The British Ministry for Defence, as they always do, have denied involvement and claim complete innocence. We all know from the Sheralga incident that the British denied responsibility in that case but when evidence was produced they were forced to admit they were to blame. It took some four years for the British Government to recognise and pay Ray [2627] McEvoy, the skipper of that trawler, for his losses.

I have listed 25 incidents and, of course, there are many more involving innocent fishing trawlers and the furtive movement of British, American, German, Dutch, Russian and French submarines all playing war games in the Irish Sea.

Fifty fishermen have lost their lives in nine years as a result of this activity and the value of property lost has been colossal. The most recent trawler to be lost cost in the region of £1 million. Despite pleadings by our Government, individuals, fishermen's organisations, the International Maritime Organisation and the Opposition parties in Britain, the British Government continue to ignore the loss of life and to respond with a “how dare you ask questions” attitude. The attitude of the British Government, who contribute most to this devastation, baffles me because of their arrogance towards their people, particularly towards their fishermen. Their arrogance can be clearly seen by the fact that every day they pour one million gallons of nuclear polluted waste into the Irish Sea, a stretch of water regarded as the most filthy and polluted in the world, and a stretch of water lapping their shores as well as ours. If the British people are prepared to live in their own squalor then so be it, but they cannot and should not impose it on us.

It is well known that the Irish Sea is used for the shipment of nuclear wastes to Sellafield for reprocessing from as far afield as Japan and other countries where nuclear power is used as a source of energy. Many ships use the Irish Sea for this purpose, carrying this lethal cargo. God forbid that any of them should collide with a nuclear submarine. It is unthinkable what the results would be if this happened. While this may sound alarmist the same might have been said of all accidents, those reported, unreported, and few admitted to, before such accidents occurred. As I have said, fishermen are operating in fear of their lives because of the record of death and [2628] destruction in the Irish Sea. That Sea is a well-known fishing ground and as such it should be respected.

Appeals made by the Celtic League, our Government and fishing organisations to the International Maritime Organisation have had a poor and watery response in that resolutions were passed at that organisation's gathering calling for a cessation of submarine activity in the Irish Sea but unfortunately these amounted to little more than a public relations exercise. There would appear to be an international conspiracy to cover up all activity and submarine incidents. The question must be posed: are the NATO member countries engaging in coordinated exercises in the Irish Sea? If that is the case, and I suspect it is, obviously the Russians are keeping a close watching brief. We are now in the position that the game is being played on our ground but we are not even allowed to see the match.

Last year was an historic year in that tremendous progress was made towards international peace when President Reagan and Mr. Gorbachev agreed to a scaling-down of nuclear weaponry. Not alone was there an agreement but there was a physical reduction in Cruise missiles. This move was hailed worldwide as a wonderful step forward by the Super Powers, alleviating considerably the fears of every person on this earth. The Russians are now pulling their submarines from the Irish Sea for economic reasons but they are also taking another step forward in the peace process. I ask the Minister to call on the British Government and the Government of the USA to reciprocate by closing their bases at Faslane and Holy Lock and rid us on this side of the Irish Sea of this terrible menace against which we are helpless.

I ask the Minister to have the accident which occurred last Sunday night followed up to establish what precisely happened, who was involved and how and why it happened. We must remember it might have been five Irish fishermen who lost their lives. I ask the Minister to make contact immediately with the offending nations to ensure that the Irish [2629] Sea is as it should be — free from the furtive activity of submarines whose orders are to “steam on regardless”. It is time to call a stop. Again, I appeal to the Minister, now armed with a litany of death, destruction and fear, to demand a response from Britain, the USA, the USSR, France, the Netherlands and Germany. It may be a tall order but our concern must be for our fishermen and our people.

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs (Mr. Calleary): The incident to which Deputy Byrne has referred involved the Belgian registered trawler Tijl Uilenspiegel which sank in the Iris Sea on Sunday night. As the Deputy correctly said, the vessel involved which was built in 1972 was 143 tonnes and 30.7 metres in length. While it is difficult to be absolutely precise, the incident is thought to have taken place 35 miles west of the United Kingdom and 20 miles south-west of the Isle of Man at the approximate co-ordinates 54 degrees north and 4 degrees west. The incident thus took place outside Irish territorial waters. Some debris from the vessel was found floating in the area and, as Deputy Byrne said, one body has been found and four are still missing. The incident occurred in the UK area of responsibility for search and rescue.

There is no information available to the Government that would suggest that the sinking of the trawler was caused by a submarine. Until the exact cause of the sinking of the vessel can be fully and accurately determined, suggestions that its sinking may have been caused by a submarine must be regarded as speculative. It will be a matter for the Belgian authorities to undertake the necessary investigations regarding the incident as the vessel involved was Belgian registered. The Irish Government deeply regret the loss of life involved.

While the sinking took place in the Irish Sea Deputy Byrne will have noted that it occurred outside Irish territorial waters which extend to 12 miles off our coast. The location of the incident and the fact that the vessel involved was not [2630] of Irish registration means that there is no direct involvement or role for the Irish Government in this case. We will, however, be keeping a watching brief.

It is important to state that while Deputy Byrne has listed a very long number of incidents in relation to submarines, it is known that to date there have been only two confirmed incidents involving submarines and Irish registered vessels.

The Government are of course, conscious of submarine activity in the Irish Sea and elsewhere off our coasts and of the potential hazards this traffic gives rise to. As Deputy Byrne is, no doubt, already aware because of his very long interest in this problem, the Government's concerns about safety of fishing trawlers in these circumstances have already been brought to the attention of all parties concerned, through the channels of the International Maritime Organisation, which the Government consider is the most appropriate and effective means of pursuing the matter. Ireland sponsored a resolution at the IMO aimed at focussing attention on the problems posed to fishermen by submarine traffic. The initiative resulted in the unanimous adoption on 17 November 1987 by the General Assembly of the IMO of a resolution entitled “Avoidance by Submerged Submarines of Fishing Vessels and Their Fishing Gear”. It is our hope that this resolution will make a significant contribution to the avoidance of incidents involving surface vessels and submerged submarines at sea.

While under international law, submarines exercising the right of innocent passage travelling through the territorial seas must remain on the surface and show identification, under international law, all nations have free access to the international waters beyond the territorial sea and submarines may remain submerged in these waters. Like Deputy Byrne, I also should like to see submarines leaving the Irish Sea.

The Deputy will recall that in the course of his address to the Third Special Session on Disarmament in New York in [2631] June 1988 the Taoiseach used the opportunity to voice his concern about the dangers posed by nuclear submarines. He referred to nuclear submarine traffic in busy coastal shipping and fishing zones. Such as the Irish Sea, and emphasised that this was a matter of considerable concern to Ireland.

[2632] Let me assure Deputy Byrne that the Government will continue to pursue all opportunities to draw attention to the hazards to vessels from submarine activity and, in general, to enhance the safety of vessels at sea.

The Dáil adjourned at 11 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday, 8 March 1989.
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PostPosted: 06-03-2013 08:57    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bugaled Breizh trawler sinking: Petition calls for debate

Campaigners for the families of five French trawlermen killed when their fishing vessel sank off Cornwall nine years ago have called for a parliamentary debate over the sinking.
After the Bugaled Breizh sank off the Lizard on 15 January 2004, families of the victims claimed a Royal Navy submarine was responsible.
But the Royal Navy has always denied any involvement and has been cleared.

Campaigners believe a debate could reveal what happened.
A petition has been started in a bid to force a parliamentary debate.
Families of the dead crew believe the vessel was dragged under by a submarine caught in fishing gear, and have blamed HMS Turbulent.
The Royal Navy has insisted HMS Turbulent was in Devonport Naval Base throughout the day.

In January, French Judge Brigette Lamy, who was involved in an investigation into whether charges of manslaughter or failing to assist a person in danger could be brought against HMS Turbulent or its crew, said she agreed with reports the submarine was in Plymouth at the time.

Jacques Losay, a relative of the trawler's skipper has made a film shown in Cornwall which disputes the Royal Navy's claims.
Mr Losay said the speed the vessel sunk could only be explained by the involvement of a submarine.
The sinking happened a day before Nato military exercises began in the area.

The 72ft (23m) Bugaled Breizh, which means "child of Brittany" in Breton, was based at the small port of Loctudy.

I can't see that a parliamentary debate will achieve much. It's another case of the relatives of the lost having persuaded themselves they know what happened, and banging on about it until someone agrees with them. But if HMS Turbulent was involved, there could be good reasons to keep it secret, even from parliament. There was also talk about a Dutch submarine being involved, or unidentified surface ships. If anyone does know the truth, it could be decades yet before it's revealed.
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PostPosted: 26-03-2013 11:29    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are not many sources in English for this already complex case. The most comprehensive covering was done in books by Laurent RICHARD and Sébastien TURAY, Le Bugaled Breizh, Secrets d'Etat autour d'un naufrage (Editions First, 2007), and Yann QUEFFELEC, Adieu Bugaled Breizh (Editions du Rocher, 2009). But they're already quite old, and couldn't cover the extant of recent developments, and the number of attempts to obstruct the truth.

My feeling is that after trying on many occasions and failing to properly bury the case, the French judiciary authorities have been trying to gain time in the last five years by 'promoting', burying, then 'de-burying' and 're-burying' the same leads again and again, then new ones that would prove to be as fruitless as the others, but well, could be useful to be ressurected later. Recently, they decided to unearth the lead of a US submariner they had dropped two years ago. Before, they had discussed again for months the presence of titanium on the cables, supposedly definitive evidence despite that it had already been shown as inconclusive years ago. Unsurprisingly, it deflated later. Now, the new theory to be put forward is of a French submariner...

Alas, the court refused to take steps which could actually be useful. When they chose not to investigate the 'loss' by the CROSS (rescue center) of the cape Gris-Nez of radio transmisions records from 12.51 to 6.57 pm. It seems they really believe that it was just an incredible coincidence (such a tactique had already been used in the case of another trawler in 1990, La Jonque ; the bigger the lie...). Or when they rejected requests for hearing, and maybe prosecution for false testimonies and destruction of evidence, of the British rescuers who were the first to intervene. Despite many innacuries and inconsistencies in their reports, and the sinking of a potentially incriminating lifeboat found floating near the site of the wreckage, and seemingly not front the Bugaled Breizh (this part of the story is detailed by Richard and Turay, pp.236-249, and Queffélec, pp.105-114).

The english-speaking public is usually unaware of how much for years, the families of the victims and the owner of the boat have had to overthrow a multitude of obstacles erected by the French government, just to prevent the closure of investigations. The first prosecutor in charge of the case, Roland Esch, was curiously transferred/promoted prematurely, only two years after he had took office. Because he felt that he would sooner or later be forced to do something that would go against his conscience ? My feeling is that he was caught by surprise, unprepared, not really involved in the cover-up, but at the same time not so unaware of what was going on after all. Richard and Turay transcribe an interview with him in their book, pp.114-118. His answers make him look more honest than many magistrates who got caught in an affair that was beyond them, but his comments are indeed full of understatements and half-truths. And some of his words are a little worrying, when he states that if he had been told that foreign ships were involved, that he had to be very careful and should report his findings to 'them', he would have done so because he had to be loyal and devoted.
Well, it does seem that his departure was intended to put in charge someone who was 'prepared', and that this was seen as an opportunity to end once and for all a case that had lasted much too long for their taste. Which would have been the case if two other 'unprepared people' had not been still in charge, and proved more resilient than expected.

Bugaled-Breizh : battle of magistrates
31 July 2008

Today, in Quimper, the judges who are inquiring the sinking of the Bugaled Breizh should confirm to the private parties that they are privileging the theory of a hitching with a submariner. An hypothesis that the prosecutor rejects. Wat lies behind this battle opposing the magistrates ?

On 15 January 2004, at 12.25, the Bugaled Breizh sank in the Channel in 37 seconds. This same day, inter-allied conjoined military exercises ASWEX04 (France, Netherlands, Germany and England) were being prepared and a Royal Navy exercise, Thursday War, was taking place. Was the trawler from Loctudy and her five hands sank by a submersible involved in the exercises or a spy submariner ? No definitive material proof confirms this hypothesis but, after an inquest of four years, instructor judges of Quimper Richard Foltzer and Muriel Corre consider a collision involving a submariner to be their "most serious" lead. Transfered on next September, they should confirm this morning that it is their opinion to the private parties during a last meeting with them in the premises of the Court of Quimper. Where their opinion is countered by former prosecutor Anne Kayanakis. According to her, it is a fishing accident, the trawl "hooked softly" [i.e. got burried] on the sandy banks, which, combined with the heave and the fact that the holds were open, resulted in the wrecking. How should we interpret this confrontation between magistrates? Back to the start.

The report of the BEA Mer has reinforced the families' suspicion of the State

"Clouded behind this affair lies a state lie !" On 27 November 2006, in front of the forecourt of the prefecture of Quimper, Christian Bergot, counsel of the families of the victims of the Bugaled Breizh, is declaiming his anger after the release of the report of the Bureau Enquête Accident Mer dedicated to the wrecking. The BEA Mer, under the authority of the ministry of Transportations, concludes that it was a fishing accident. The already accute suspicion of the families towards the state services finds itself this day definitely confirmed. A general collective protest among the fishing community follows, but this report impresses public opinion. After all, the sea has claimed the lives of many sailors and ships... The matter disappears from the national media. Following 27 November 2006, the families transfer their "hope" to judges Foltzer and Corre. "They are independant. They are the last ones we trust."

The judges say "this was a submariner", the prosecutor says "it was a fishing accident"

The affair will take on a new twist during a meeting organized by Le Télégramme and the Festival Livre et Mer [Books and Sea festival] of Concarneau. The conclusions of Foltzer and Corre are made public : after four years of investigation, the two judges are considering that a submariner that got entangled with the nets is the "most serious" hypothesis. Among the documents they are relying upon : the report of independant experts George and Théré (from the Ifremer) who have brought to light the action of an outer strenght exerted on the port side of the fishline between 40 m and 60 m deep, a strong friction upon this cable at the place where later were detected titanium of the kind used by some submersibles... And judges Foltzer and Corre have relied on further advice to confort their conclusion, from another independnat expert, Dominique Salles, specialized on submersibles, that they had put in charge of another study in August 2007. Lawyer Christian Bergot adds "He ansewered "yes" to the question : is the involvment of a submariner possible ?" But the prosecutor office is opposed to this hypothesis. On last April, Anne Kayanakis concluded that it was "a fishing accident". Attracting anger from the plaintiffs, who have come to believe that this magistrate was "biased". Why ? Because as a prosecutor, she is under the authority of the ministry of Justice. Meaning of the government. And her theory of a "fishing accident" rules out a possible involvment of a submariner from Aswex04, the Thursday War or of a spy ship. Avoiding so an embarassing situation for France among its allies. Add to this that the prosecutor shares the conclusions of the BEA Mer that is under the authority of the ministry of Transportation. Meaning of the State.

A case locked in a dead end

Anne Kanayakis protested against these accusations in our own pages. On 16 January, she said : "I'm aware of these reproaches. It is said that my contribution is unworthy of a democracy. But I want to remind the public that my only goal is to search for the truth." On 16 April, her deputy, Jean-Yves Goueffon, reassured that the prosecution's analysis "holds into account every expert report" contained in the files. Among these, a further study required by judges Foltzer and Corre from Ifremer. A study which demolished the report from the BEA Mer but that the prosecution considers as a "simplistic approach". While the two judges from Quimper are about to leave their office - Richard Foltzer is going to Lille and Muriel Corre to Rennes - and now that Anne Kayanakis has gone to Bayonne last April, the Bugaled Breizh case remains so a mystery and appears to be locked in a judiciary dead end. In this dead end lies an observation : the men at the service of the State are supporting the theory of a fishing accident while the judges and independant experts are defending the one of a hitching with a submariner, more worrying for France.

Once it was their turn to be transfered (which is legal in France if they have been in the same court more than 10 years), and replaced with someone more receptive to the government's needs, it seemed that this time they would reach their goal. Nor Feltzer's and Corre's involvment and declarations, nor the leaking of the Ifremer report* would have prevented the scandal to be buried definitely.
*(This agency has been heavily criticized for its handling of the case of the Itavia 870, an Italian Airliner that crashed in the Tyrenean Sea in 1980, when it was accused of falsifying conclusions to comply to the government's will. But the present report was not intended to be made public.)

[Edit : I had mentioned the case of La Jonque here :
The involvment of a submariner is again likely, although this time probably as a direct collision.]

Last edited by Analis on 24-07-2013 10:43; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: 26-03-2013 11:38    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bugaled : request for a further inquiry dismissed

14 January 2009

The instructor judge from Quimper Mélanie Gehin, in charge of the inquest on the sinking of the trawler Bugaled Breizh on 15 January 2004 off England, dismissed a request for further investigation, according to Mr Christian Bergot, counsel for the private parties. On last 31st July, relying on an expert study, the two instructor judges who were then in charge of the inquest had said to the private parties that the hypothesis of a sinking caused by a hitching with a nuclear attack submariner (NAS) was "highly likely". But they hadn't gone farther, hence the reason of this request for a further inquiry from the families. They were asking notably for any submariner present in the area where the tragedy took place to be identified. "As the judge dismissed our request because she thought it was illusory, we appealed of her decision to the Instructor Section of the Court of Criminal Appeals of Rennes", Mr Bergeot added yesterday. The counsel explained that the Court of Appeals should deliver its decision in a few weeks. It will tell if it confirms the judge's decision - who should then pronounce a dismissal -, or if, on the contrary, it issues letters rogatory to the French, English, American and Russian navies. The families are waiting too for the conclusions of the prosecution. Prosecutor Eric Tuffery has already sent them to the ministry that should deliver them to the public before the end of this month.

Sinking of the Bugaled Breizh : decision on 27 November

The Bugaled Breizh affair comes back in plain sight. The Instructor Section of the Court of Criminal Appeals of Rennes was reviewing today if it was legitimate to pursue the inquest on the sinking of the trawler from Loctudy (Finistère).


The Instructor Section of the Court of Criminal Appeals of Rennes has decided to take the case into advisement until 27 November and will render on this day its decision relating to the requests from the private parties. During the hearing, which was taking place publicly, the district attorney asked for these requests for further investigations to be dismissed. The Court had decided to examine the requests publicly. Convinced that the wrecking was caused by a collision with a submersible, the families of the victims would notably like to know the location of every ship that was present in this area. A military exercise led by NATO and the British was taking place in the vicinity. The requests from the private parties would then target French, British and American submariners. They might be extended to Russian or even Chinese ships. These requests are at risk of not being answered for reasons of military secrecy.

A collision with a submariner is "highly likely".

The families of the seamen are also asking for then minister of Defense Michèle Alliot-Marie to be heard, as well as the chief of staff of the Navy, because they are convinced that the French Navy didn't say everything it knew in this case. The hypothesis of a collision with a submariner is "highly likely", according to the judiciary inquest. But investigations conducted in France and in foreign countries have led to no result. "It seems obvious that a State that would be involved in such a tragedy, if it has not made its involvment known until now, will not give any proof of its involvment to the French justice", as the judge of Quimper who took over the case, Mélanie Gehin, explained in her ruling rendered in December 2008, to justify her refusal to conduct a further investigation. She concluded that it looked, "as a consequence, hopeless to keep on the numerous and difficult investigations that have already been conducted in this case". If the magistrates did not start new inquiries, the Bugaled Breizh affair would risk to result in a dismissal.

But again something that they hadn't planned happened : a vast mobilization took place, the population petitioning MPs, local councillors and even the magistrates.

Forty mayors are asking for the military secrecy to be lifted

4 November 2009
Source AFP-Le Point

Around forty mayors from the south of Finistère are requiring to the president to remove the military secrecy around the sinking of the trawler Bugaled Breizh in 2004, in an area where NATO exercises were taking place. Joël Piété, mayor of Loctudy where the Bugaled was registered, explained on Moday that "we are asking for the military secrecy to be removed, so that justice may have access to military files". The letter written by the mayors, who are also asking Nicolas Sarkozy to receive the families, should be send on Thursday. Joël Piété added that it was signed by forty elected representatives and by the chairman of the mayors of the Finistère on the behalf of every counsellor of the département. In the meantime, the grouping of shopkeepers associations of Cornouailles (south of Finistère) printed around 7000 tracts titled "Bugaled Breizh, on nous doit la vérité" [Bugaled Breizh, we are owed the truth] to support the families.

The investigations have revealed that the involvment of a nuclear attack submariner in the wrecking of the fishboat was "highly likely". But the instructor judge of Quimper refuesd to pursue her inquiries, considering that they are "hopeless" notably because military files are classified. Private parties appealed to the Instructor Section of the Court of Appeals of Rennes, that will deliver its decision on 27 November. On 15 January 2004, the trawler had sunk in a few minutes putting with her her five crewmen, in an area where were conducted NATO exercises invloving notably submersibles from NATO countries.

Bugaled Breizh. Decision around the pursuing of the inquest delivered on 27 November
7 October 2009

The mobilization had much influence

So it was with much apprehension that the private parties came into the courtroom 029 of the Parliament of Britonny. Everybody was afraid that they would be told that an end would be put to the inquest. Around 9:15 am, the door opened again. As the private parties had requested, the hearing would be held in public [intructor juridisctions are not bound to held their hearings in public]. Not neutral. More than 8000 signatures from a petition gathered by Cornish [from Breton Cornouailles, the region of Quimper and Carnac] shopkeepers had been handed in to the court at the beginning of the hearing. Lawyer Mr Kermarec explained that "the fact that a whole region mobilized had its influence". The fact that the hearing was held in public did not please the district attorney, who had tried to oppose this decision. But around forty people sat and the lawyers began to plead. Counsel Bergot said to chairman of the court Bartholin : "After an inquest of five years and nine months, we are barred from the truth by a thin partition. I am asking you to help us to pierce this thin partition". Mr Kermarec brought his pleading to an unusual ground : European law : "The right to life is one of the main rights included in the European Constitution [sic] on Human Rights, ratified by France and the other European countries involved in the Bugaled Breizh case. This constitution takes precedence on the criminal code of these countries as far as the lives of some their nationals are concerned. So military secrecy can not be opposed to us relating to our request to be informed of the position of fench and english submariners the day day of the tragedy". Gotcha ? Perhaps.

The district attorney and the commander of the Dolfjin are the targets of critics

Mr Tricaud, a newcomer as a counsel for the private parties, followed with a general atatck on the district attorney : "In this whole case, the prosecutor's office behave as the servant of the State, swearing that no submariner was involved". His attention is notably focused on one submariner : the Dutch Dolfjin, whose captain he requires to be indicted by the magistrates. "It is impossible that he didn't hear what happened. His complicity is obvious." The hearing ended with the district attorney's pleading. She briefly asked to the judges to dismiss lawyers Bergot's and Tricaud's requests for technicalities, but couldn't argue with Mr Kermadec's plea. The chairman and his assistants concluded by stating that "they should be left time to give a ruling". They will deliver it on 27 November, this time again in a public hearing. 52 more days of uncertainty for the families of the victims, who on yesterday midday, displayed a moderate but actual hope.

So, a mobilization can effectively repel a state conspiracy, if only temporarily. I doubt that this will result in the revelation of the truth, the authorities probably hoping that time will prove to be their best ally. But a definitive closure has probably become politically too sensitive.
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