British Nuclear-Powered Submarine Runs Aground Off West Coast of Scotland

A British nuclear-powered submarine, HMS Astute, has run aground off Scotland’s Isle of Skye, the defense ministry said.

The 97-meter (318-foot) submarine, which was on sea trials, “grounded a rudder” at Kyle of Lochalsh shortly after 8 a.m. local time, Robert Mead, a ministry spokesman, said in a telephone interview. No other vessel was involved.

No crew members have been injured, “no part of the nuclear propulsion system has been damaged and the reactor is safe,” Mead said. The submarine will be floated at the next high tide, which is due at around 6 p.m., he said.

Astute, which was commissioned into the Royal Navy on Aug. 27, is “the U.K.’s most powerful attack submarine,” the ministry said on its website. Built by BAE Systems Plc, it is quieter than other submarines in the fleet, even though it is 50 percent bigger, and can circumnavigate the world without surfacing.

“A highly complex feat of naval engineering, she is at the very cutting-edge of technology,” First Sea Lord Admiral Mark Stanhope said on Aug 27, adding that Astute would undergo a “series of demanding seagoing trials testing the full range of the submarine’s capabilities.”

The Marine and Coastguard Agency has sent a tug to the scene to help with the salvage operation, which is being led by the navy, MCA spokesman Mark Clark said in a telephone interview.

Another submarine, HMS Trafalgar, was damaged when it ran aground during a training exercise in November 2002. An inquiry found the incident was a result of “human error.”

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