A Royal Navy nuclear submarine was involved in what has been called a ‘close quarters incident’ with a ferry in the Irish Sea.

An investigation has been launched into the as of this week unreported incident, which occurred in the Irish Sea on November the 6th.

The incident involved the MS Stena Superfast VII, a ferry owned by Stena Line and operated on their service between Belfast and Cairnryan. The vessel is capable of transporting 1,200 passengers and 661 cars.

The Royal Navy has not confirmed which of its submarines was involved.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) said in a release:

“In November, we were notified of a close-quarters incident between the ro-ro (roll-on/roll-off) ferry Stena Superfast VII and a submarine operating at periscope depth.

We have carried out a preliminary assessment of the evidence in this case and the Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has decided to open a safety investigation. The investigation is being conducted with the full co-operation of the Royal Navy.

A report will be published when our investigation has concluded.”

A Royal Navy spokesman said:

“We can confirm the sighting of a Royal Navy submarine between Belfast and Stranraer on 6 November 2018. We are co-operating with the MAIB investigation.”

According to a spokesman for Stena:

“Stena Line can confirm that on Tuesday 6 November 2018, Stena Superfast VII and a submerged submarine came into close proximity during a scheduled crossing between Cairnryan and Belfast. At no stage were the vessel, passengers or crew in any danger. The incident is now under investigation by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch and we will of course co-operate fully in this.”

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Daniele Mandelli

How close is close proximity in naval parlance?

Barry Larking



I bet it was a Russian sub and the Navy are covering it up!

*puts tinfoil hat on – retreats to basement*


“The vessel is capable of transporting 626 passengers and 661 cars.” That’s 35 more cars than people. Interesting

Cam Hunter

Yeah that’s head boggling! Are the cars drivers not included! I don’t get it. Who drives the extra cars! I’m confused!

captain P Wash.

Self Driving Cars Off on Holiday !

Cam Hunter

Ahh in stena service it can actually hold 1200 passengers and 661 cars….


These kind of incidents seem to be happening with alarming frequency. Has training been cut? What’s causing all these near misses?


Complacency. Too much reliance on the automation and not enough paying attention with the noggin… Probably a common thread in all these collisions / near collisions…



Worrying when you consider how few SSN/SSBN’we have and how long they might take to replace.


Did one not return late last year having lost more than a few tiles?


Polish builders, tiles fell off my bathroom wall as well.

Glass Half Full

Now that was funny 🙂

Daniele Mandelli

Yes. One of the Astutes.

captain P Wash.

I think It was HMS Vengeance, there are pictures showing a fair amount of missing Tiles.


I thought they just come off with age? The Trafalger class used to have more tiles missing than remaining which confused me, would missing tiles not create more of an acoustic signature than if they never installed in the first place as the surface would be a lot smoother. I think the Russian just apply a rubber coating over the surface of their subs rather than individual tiles.

Cam Hunter

The tiles actually have air bubble in them so when sonar hits them they disperse and thus giving the submarine its stealth capabilitys, the exact way they are designed are secret but the basics are known.

captain P Wash.

BAE Systems have a history of problems, with their Glue !


The submariners were shaken, but not stirred by the event.


[…] Hazzard said the incident highlighted the need for the Irish Sea to become a “submarine free zone” in remarks […]


The ferrys are causing it. There are more of them, they are faster, larger, quieter than ever before. They rush about totally untrained in submarine awareness and navigation needs.
Besides Ireland maybe always thought the world owed it a living.