A fire has broken out onboard French nuclear submarine Perle at Toulon naval base, reports local media.

French officials said in a statement that the fire “broke out in the fore zone” of the submarine.

The intervention of specialized teams, made up of naval firefighters from the naval base, is underway. The Sdis du Var firefighters are in the area, as reinforcements. The submarine has been evacuated, there is no injured.”

As part of its technical shutdown during her maintenance period, initiated on January 13, 2020, the Perle is in drydock under the responsibility of the French Fleet Support Service. A French Maritime Prefecture of the Mediterranean spokesman also said that that there are “no wounded” and that the submarine is “currently under maintenance in the basin without weapons or nuclear fuel on board”.

the Perle submarine
Perle is a Rubis class nuclear attack submarine and entered service in 1993.

The fire has been classified as “fairly serious”.

More on this as it develops.

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‘“no nuclear substances, no ammunition, no fuel, no personnel’ – that tends to be the first response.

Supportive Bloke

It is an old submarine @27 years and if the damage is “fairly serious” as the fire is then it **might** be a write off.

Glad nobody was hurt.


‘Glad nobody was hurt’ – absolutely


Some pics of the damage have come out. She is 100% a write off, fire was catastrophic, the pressure hull must be in doubt after such a high intensity fire. But she was absolutely gutted at the bow.


looks like that sub will be needing a new captain.

Andy P

Its probably been handed over to the dockyard. You quite often get a ‘fire’ from welders etc. This sounds like its got serious though and depending on how far the refit has progressed, it might not be that big a deal. Put ‘NUCLEAR’ in front of anything and it tends to get more attention.

Just speculation of course but if its not got any fuel onboard then its probably not got that much habitability on either and a lot of that is the flammable stuff.


Most probably it’s not something in line with the USS Miami fire which resulted in the total loss of an advanced LA class boat. That kid should never see the light of day again IMHO.



Andy P

While it never normally comes to anything, boats (and I’m assuming ships) in refit have a surprising number of fires, the vast majority come to nothing but it does happen and to be fair it seems to be less over the years (just my opinion) which is good. We’ll need to see the outcome of this one but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was negligence from a dockyard firewatcher going for a tab or whatever. Can’t speak for the French but its kind of a ‘tig, you’re it’ with UK boats in refit or build. in Barrow, even if… Read more »


But he did get a big fine to pay after he gets out…


Yeah… That will teach him.. 😀


The fine was. Something like 200 mil dollars. To be payed back at what 50 dollars a month?


So the French have less nuclear atack subs than the UK now.


They had less before ,according to wiki.

Daniele Mandelli

6 I thought? So 5 now?


Yeah 6 just like the UK, but now 5.


Actually they’re down to 4 with this. SNA Saphir S602 was decommissioned last year. They’re in a bit of pickle operations wise because of that. Suffren class (the successor class) are running late with the first of class not operational yet.


We both had 6 nuclear atack subs before this one decided to have a fire.


The UK has 7. Audacious was commissioned in April.


Bad as the Russians. Perhaps the contractor was the same one who was redecorating the Notre Dame…

But seriously it seems to me that rebuilding often ends up with fires.


Apparently the fire in the front of the sub took 14 hours to extinguish with 30 firemen. Luckily the sub was in refit in dry dock so no weapons or fuel on board. However the damage seems extensive and this could be a fatal blow for the sub which was due for replacment in 2030. Although the 1st Suffren class sub just did deep sea diving tests, it is set to replace another Rubis class. This could mean that France only has 5 SNA for this next decade.


Strange that subs don’t have a way to vent all air from a compartment. Would be helpful in situations like this.


Some pics have leaked out of the damage.

The sub is finished. She’ll never go to sea again.

Stevo H

Good to hear that there’s no casualties as a fire on board a submarine can be catastrophic….it’s bad enough on a ship, let alone a sub.
From what I’ve read about her, the Perle isn’t a new submarine, in fact she’s over 25 years old so it’s no great loss.

Stevo H

Just a little pearl of wisdom for you……
Perle is also a rather nice tasting, good quality Polish beer.