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Tuesday, 26 December, 2000, 09:24 GMT
Brazil investigates sub sinking
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Tonelero went down in Rio's military harbour
The Brazilian navy has begun an investigation in the sinking of its largest submarine, which sank at its mooring in Rio de Janeiro's harbour late on Sunday night.

No one was killed in the incident, and the navy said no environmental damage had been caused.

There are conflicting reports as to whether the diesel-powered Tonelero was armed when it sank. Local newspapers say the ship was carrying four deactivated torpedoes.

The Tonelero was in dock for repairs. There were nine crew members aboard when it sank, all of whom escaped safely.

Refloat

A navy spokesman said it would take at least a week to refloat the 90-metre, 2,400-ton submarine.

The Tonelero was built by the UK firm Vickers - now a part of Eaton - in the early 1970s and bought by Brazil in 1977.

It is now used mostly for training purposes.

The Brazilian navy has five submarines. The Rio newspaper O Globo said the Tonelero incident was the first time a Brazilian submarine had sunk in 82 years.

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