Page last updated at 14:45 GMT, Friday, 27 November 2009

Inquiry into sunken boat re-opens

Bugaled Breizh
The Bugaled Breizh was raised and returned to France

A French judge has ordered further investigations into the sinking of a fishing boat off the Cornish coast.

The Bugaled Breizh sank off the Lizard on 15 January 2004. Its five crew died.

The Appeal Court in Rennes ordered new investigations by Dominique Salles, a submarine expert who first looked into the incident in 2008.

M. Salles had previously concluded that the boat had "most probably" been sunk by a submarine taking part in an international war exercise.

A Nato exercise involving submarines was being carried out off the Lizard when the Bugaled Breizh sank.

British and Dutch submarines were cleared by French court officials in 2007 of any involvement in the sinking.

But the inquiry in Quimper in 2008 concluded that a nuclear submarine snagging the boat's trawl was the "highly probable cause" of the tragedy.

The judges recommended that the investigation be wound up with no guilty party traced.

However, the Appeal Court had now said M. Salles should attempt to trace the submarine allegedly involved by trying to establish which nuclear subs were in the area and why.

In a letter to the victim's families Judge Melanie Gehin said the French and German Navies were also known to have been involved.

A coroner's inquest will be held in Cornwall into the deaths of the five French fishermen on board the vessel.

The British inquest can be held because the bodies were recovered in Cornwall.

The 72ft (23m) Bugaled Breizh, which means "child of Brittany" in Breton, was based at the small port of Loctudy.

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