Friday, October 22, 2010


UPDATE October 22, 2010: The HMS Astute was floated free by the evenings high tide with the help of three support vessels. Her stern had grounded on a shingle bank in the morning while she was transferring people ashore.

The word 'astute' means clever, cunning, or shrewd however these do not, it appears, apply to the Royal Navy submarine HMS Astute. This morning she ran aground off the Isle of Skye in Scotland. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) was alerted to the incident at 0819 BST (British Summer Time) and announced "We have sent a coastguard tug to where the submarine ran aground on rocks at the Kyle of Lochalsh near the Skye bridge". Since the tide is rising at around 1800 BST it is possible the vessel can be removed then.

The Inner Sound area is well marked with navigational buoys and the sea around Skye and Raasay is used as a training area by the Royal Navy (RN). One would think that naval watchofficers and navigators should be quite familiar with it. While the Astute is still undergoing sea trials she was commissioned into the RN in August 2010, and was expected to enter service next year.

Her commanding officer CMDR. Andy Coles RN talked recently about Astute:

"We have a brand new method of controlling the submarine, which is by platform management system, rather than the old conventional way of doing everything of using your hands. This is all fly-by-wire technology including only an auto pilot rather than a steering column."

The British Government is planning huge reductions in its Armed Forces and new buildings of the Royal Navy will go into mothballs or put up for sale. NAUTICAL LOG does not think they planned to lay up fleet units by this method. According to our friends at OLD SALT BLOG the RN is now the size of Henry the Eight's fleet - he had as many wifes as ships !!

Good Watch.

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