Skipper recalls ‘evasive’ submarine off Cornwall as trawler sank in 2004

A trawler skipper who rushed to the aid of another fishing boat after it capsized off the Cornish coast reported seeing a submarine that appeared to be “evading” him, an inquest has heard.

Relatives of the five-strong French trawler crew who died in the incident off Lizard Point 17 years ago believe the vessel, the Bugaled Breizh, sank after its nets were snagged by a submarine.

The Ministry of Defence denies that any Royal Navy vessel was to blame, but the judge hearing the inquest, Nigel Lickley QC, told the families that he would examine to see if a submarine could have been involved.

On day two of the inquest in London, Serge Cossec, the skipper of the trawler Eridan, described how his boat, which had been fishing with the Bugaled Breizh, took a call from the stricken vessel at about 12.25pm on 15 January 2004.

Cossec said the skipper of the Bugaled Breizh, Yves Gloaguen, told him: “Come quickly, we are capsizing.” He continued: “I said to him ‘What’s going on?’ and he repeated the same thing.” Cossec said he told Gloaguen to launch his life rafts because something “abnormal” happening. There was “panic” in Gloaguen’s voice, he said. Cossec issued a mayday call at 12.35pm.

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