Nuclear Behemoths of the deep, HMS Vanguard and Le Triomphant were both badly damaged in a deep underwater crash in the middle of the Atlantic, which is expected to cost up to £50 million in repairs. Both captains lost their no claims bonuses and are liable for the first twenty million pounds worth of damage.
First gay, Lord Admiral Sir Russell Band, said the submarines collided at low speed, damaging wing mirrors and door trim. The French vessel Le Triomphant instantly surrendered and lost its rear bumper and reverse lights in the collision.
Following the unfortunate 'shunt' senior officers from both vessels climbed out of their respective hatches to exchange insults and profanities. Following a frank and vigorous exchange of opinions, tempers calmed and eventually insurance details and phone numbers exchanged.
The Vanguard, Britain's first, Trident class submarine, returned to Faslane on the Clyde on Saturday for some bodywork and a re spray. Le Triomphant took three days to get home to L'Ile Longue, near 'Brests' in North West France due to prolonged lunch breaks and the quest for a 13 amp fuse to replace the one that was damaged in the detection systems electronic equipment.
"In the end we had to take the fuse out the galleys sound system" said a submariner who wished to remain anonymous. "I know the Captain had the last fuse for his hairdryer, Sacre Bleau!
Dents and scrapes were clearly visible on each submarine, while the French vessel still clearly displayed "I wish my wife was this dirty" drawn in seaweed and barnacles on the submarines hull, albeit with some scuffing.
Investigations were launched on both sides of the Channel as the two countries tried to work out how such a seemingly simple error could have been made. "We have been secretly working on making huge errors so cocking this straightforward, simple manoeuvre up came as something of a shock to us." claims Rear Gaylord Horatio Benton! I know we indicated and my reverse warning was clearly sounded!"
Although both are fitted with state-of-the-art technology aimed at detecting other submarines, it appears neither saw the other until it was too late. It would appear that no one had checked the batteries in their respective submarine detectors supplied by NATO! "Two nine volt batteries could have prevented this near catastrophe" claimed an assistant at Currys the electrical superstore.
One theory being considered was that their respective anti-sonar devices - which hide submarines - were just too effective in concealing one from the other. Both submarines were entirely convinced they did not exist, or were indeed somewhere else and that the nuclear warheads were in fact much-needed components for the upgrading of the "octopuses Garden under the Sea." Ringo Starr claimed to be dismayed that he was not the best drummer in the Beatles and that upgrading of fictional aquatic animals living quarters with nuclear weapons really "bummed him out"!
Only two people out of a 135-strong crew on a nuclear Trident submarine such as Vanguard know the precise location of the vessel, the captain and the navigator, neither of which were employed in the Royal Navy at the time of the collision.
A senior British submariner source said, "We are embarrassed about this but let's see what the inquiry shows. If this keeps on happening the M.O.D threatens to take it out of our salary and only insure us for third party fire and theft".
First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Jonathan Band said the submarines collided at low speed. Claims of 'joyriding', 'Boy racing' and displays of 'bravado' were strenuously denied by both Submarine commanders. Angus McFungus, a local fisherman claims to have routinely witnessed French and British submarines behaving recklessly in the North Atlantic. "I could scarce believe my eyes," claims Angus. "Handbrake turns, rudder screeching and blasting their horns at all hours of the day and night"
The ministry of Defence claimed, "We can confirm that the vessels capability remained unaffected and there has been no compromise to nuclear safety." "These vessels were just as lethal and senseless as before the incident".
The badly damaged sonar dome should have detected the Vanguard but Le Triomphant's crew of 101 claimed to have "neither saw nor heard anything". Strangely, the sonar dome turned up in a cash convertors store in Argyle two days later. The owner refused to reveal their identity, or how they had acquired the item.
There also appears to be some confusion as to who was actually steering the Triomphant?
However, a French naval spokesman said, "The collision did not result in injuries among the crew and did not jeopardise nuclear security at any moment."We had to hot wire and bump start her a few times as the battery had gone flat and the ignition key was lost in the initial impact."We made the best of it and did a bit of shopping on the way home!"
Kate Hudson, from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said the collision could have unleashed a radioactive disaster: "This is a nuclear nightmare of the highest order. She then went on to claim:
a) Bears shit in the woods
b) The Pope is Catholic!
SNP Westminster leader Angus "Braveheart" Robertson demanded a Government statement into what went wrong.
"The UK Ministry of Defence needs to explain how it is possible for a submarine carrying weapons of mass destruction to collide with another submarine carrying weapons of mass destruction in the middle of the world's second-largest ocean." A navel spokesman claimed in response that," We regularly practice colliding in the channel but don't have enough room do it properly".
Liberal Democrat defence spokesman Nick Harvey called for an internal inquiry with the partial publication of its conclusions to reassure the public. "I want to be reassured that everything is just as half assed and piecemeal as it usually is!" said Nick.
"Now that this incident is public knowledge, the people of Britain, France and the rest of the world need to be reassured this can never happen again and that lessons are being learned into how to do it properly so we can write the submarine off and get a new one on the insurance".
Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, Dr Liam Fox, said the crash showed the inherent danger of military operations. "Someone could have had their eye out in this debacle!"
The UK submarine service has been undermanned for some time with technicians in particular shortage. The Royal Navy currently uses agency staff following the outsourcing of its weapons control, logistics and strategic command to the P.F.I defence giant, "Quickfit Conflict centre" Part of the two and a half billion pound deal is a new clutch and exhaust every twenty thousand miles if you avoid nuclear catastrophe.
The Vanguard, which went into operation in 1994, is one of Britain's four nuclear-powered submarines. Alongside Le Triomphant, it is capable of carrying up to 16 nuclear-armed Trident missiles, or five John Prescott's. In other news, The British economy was forced to ditch in the North Sea, billions of pounds short of its destination platform. The pilot, Gordon Brown claimed that he was only responsible for the flight during "good economic conditions" and that "global economic turbulence" is responsible for the current crash into the North Sea. All sixty five million passengers are still stranded on the economic helicopter with little chance of recovery for some time yet! Both pilot Gordon Brown and co pilot, Alistair Darling were winched to safety and a lucrative lecture tour.