The “safest” boats in the world, according to the B.N.F.L., the double-hulled ‘Pacific-Pintail’ and her sister ship, the Pacific Teal, are expected in Irish waters shortly. The cargo on board these boats is the most dangerous known to humankind.
Among the many risks that this shipment must face are the driftnets obstructing their course. These nets have the properties of steel once entangled in the propellors of the boats, which can and have, resulted in the immobilising of boats. A simple incident in the above context occurring in heavy seas, in proximity to a rugged coastline (which has in the past reduced a large Spanish Armada to mere matchsticks), does not leave much to the imagination, double hull or not!!
Any dependence by the Pintail and Teal on their nuclear submarine escort to warn them of driftnet obstacles would be sadly mistaken, as submarines seem to be unable to detect fishing nets in water. Several incidents and sinkings of trawlers resulting in high loss of life among the crews of fishing vessels were proven against these submarines in the Irish sea. The incidents and the sinkings were caused by the submarines while underway submerged, running inadvertently into the trawlnets attached to the trawlers.
This organization calls upon B.N.F.L. not to contemplate their stealth course plans for the final stage of their voyage to their destination because this would bring the Pintail and Teal to within less than 10 kms of the Irish coastline. It would be much safer to publish their course and progress and to arrive in daylight.
The alertness of a licenced west-coast ferry skipper saved his ferry boat, crew, and passengers from imminent danger of immobilisation from an unattended salmon driftnet impeding his route. This recent incident was extremely hazardous with a high risk of loss of life as the coastline in the immediate vicinity has a sheer cliff face rising up 600ft directly out of the sea. The Irish navy was called to the scene and after several hours, they got the huge gillnet aboard and into a nearby port.
Monofilament gill driftnets have a notorious history in Irish fisheries due to their unique, lethal handling characteristics, especially during transportation and operation. Their use has been directly responsible for several tragedies, which resulted in high loss of human life.