HL Deb 30 January 1985 vol 459 cc735-6WA
Lord Kennet

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many incidents they are aware of round the British Isles in which fishing boats and other vessels have had their gear or anchors fouled by submarines; what states' submarines have been involved; and what opportunities arise in international or domestic law for compensation.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces (Lord Trefgarne)

Since 1974 there have been 11 cases of submarines snagging the gear of fishing vessels around the British Isles. One—in 1974—involved a Chilean submarine; the rest, RN submarines.

After a complaint has been investigated, my department is prepared to pay fair compensation when an RN submarine has been involved. If the vessel's owners are dissatisfied with the amount offered they can bring an action for damages through the British courts. If a foreign submarine were to be involved in an incident in British waters the application of domestic or international law would depend upon the circumstances of the particular case.