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Spain's submarine fleet is beginning to regain operational capacity a year after the serious accident aboard the Tramontana in which water began infiltrating the hull while it was 300m deep and 15 nautical miles off the coast of Cartagena. The crew were able to get the submarine back to port.The incident led to the temporary withdrawal of the four submarines of the Agosta-class in order to review them.Today there are two submarines which are fully operational, which, as the Spanish daily ABC remarks “is twice the number we've had all year. Between this incident and budgetary restrictions, there has only been one operational submarine and even that had diving limitations."The four Agosta-class submarines were built in the early 80s with technical help from France and they are now approaching the end of their operational lives. The submarines should be replaced within four years by the first of the S-80s being built by Spanish shipyard Navantia.Last month the oldest of the submarines, the “Galerna”, went into dry-dock for probably the last of its five-yearly €30 million major technical visits. The next oldest, the “Siroco” will be next once the Galerna goes back to sea. The “Mistral” has had large parts of its hull replaced as has the “Tramontana,” the newest of the four vessels. The incident it suffered occurred during sea trials after one of these major technical visits.
ar99, Spain, submarine
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