Ministry of Defence chiefs and British Waterways officials are investigating claims by fishermen that a Russian nuclear submarine surfaced in a Tipton canal during a carp fishing contest last night.
Pete Harper of the Tipton-on-Cut Carper’s Club was the first to raise the alarm. “I’d got me pole in the water and felt a really hard tug. I said to the missus, Christ this is a big’un and then all of a sudden this big black monster rose up out of the cut. I thought it was Moby Dick at first until Andy, the club secretary said, ‘No mate, that’s definitely a Russian Nuclear Sub, possibly a Shchuka attack submarine judging by the shape of its fins.’ Well, all we could do was leg it as fast as we could.”
The fishermen reported their sighting to the police who contacted the MoD. However, when officials rushed to the scene five hours later there was no sign of the vessel.
A MoD spokesman said “At first we thought it was just another fisherman’s tale but further sightings were seen further down the cut towards Birmingham. We have made calls to the Kremlin to investigate if any of their subs have strayed out of international waters and into the Black Country Canal system, but they denied that there was any activity in the area.”
A spokesman for Birmingham City Council said, “This could be a major problem. It’s a fact that we’ve got more canals than Venice so if this sub has gone off course it could be lost for weeks. In fact we may never find it. It’s a possibility though that it could be making for the Sea Life Centre in Brindley Place which is very popular at this time of year.”
British Waterways say there is no plan to drain the canal system as this would cause unnecessary suffering to its stocks of carp, tench, and shopping trollies. Narrowboat owners and pleasure craft have also been put on full alert and warned not to approach the vessel and to ignore the 10mph speed limit if pursued. “If the vessel does turn up on our watch," said a BW official “We will certainly be asking for mooring fees.”