Submarine HMS Turbulent 'in port during Bugaled Breizh trawler sinking'

File photo of the wrecked Bugaled Breizh in January 2004. Pic: AFP
Image caption The Bugaled Breizh sank in January 2004

A Royal Navy submarine has been ruled out of involvement in the sinking of a French trawler and the deaths of its crew off Cornwall.

The Bugaled Breizh sank off the Lizard on 15 January 2004. Its five crew died. Families of the victims said they believed HMS Turbulent was responsible.

French Judge Brigette Lamy said she agreed with reports that the submarine was in Plymouth at the time.

The Royal Navy said it always denied that any of its vessels were involved.

'Definitely in port'

The sinking happened a day before Nato military exercises began in the area.

Families of the dead crew believed the vessel was dragged under by a submarine caught in fishing gear, and blamed HMS Turbulent.

The Royal Navy insisted HMS Turbulent was in Devonport Naval Base throughout the day.

Judge Lamy is involved in an investigation into whether charges of manslaughter or failing to assist a person in danger can be brought against HMS Turbulent or its crew.

She said she agreed that the vessel was "definitely in port" after she was given reports last week saying HMS Turbulent was alongside at the time the trawler sank.

The Royal Navy said it had "consistently stated [to] any report that [to claim] a Royal Navy submarine may have been involved in the loss of the French fishing vessel Bugaled Breizh is totally unfounded".

It added that it had provided "unprecedented co-operation to the exhaustive French investigation" which stated that a "submarine was not to blame".

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

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