Sinking of the NRN Constantino Buccio

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Sinking of the NRN Constantino Buccio
Part of the Correvan Crisis
DateJuly 29, 2020
Location
Johannes Bay, off the Correvan coast
Result

Exacerbation of geopolitical tensions

  • Tretridian and Volscine military on alert
  • LN-mandated independence referendum
  • Eventual Correvan collapse
Belligerents
Unknown Correva
Commanders and leaders
Unknown Erhardt Armbruster (WIA)
Units involved
Unknown submarine NRN Constantino Buccio
Casualties and losses
None 1 frigate lost
51 dead
39 wounded

The sinking of the NRN Constantino Buccio was perpetrated in the early morning of July 29, 2020, by an unknown party flying the Volscine flag. The attack took place in Correvan territorial waters in Johannes Bay, in what would have amounted to an act of war. This came after Volscina pressed territorial claims on land that formally belonged to Correva, and allegedly moved troops into Correvan territory.

The effects of the attack were almost immediate, with Tretrid accusing Volscina of perpetrating the attack. Volscina denied these claims and instead argued that the attack was a false flag operation, which would amount to a violation of international maritime law. Volscina pointed to their naval records, which claimed that they had no submarines in the area at the time of the sinking. Independent investigations of the sinking remain inconclusive.

The League of Novaris, called upon to mediate the increasingly tense situation, condemned the attacks, though they did not believe Tretridian claims that Volscina was responsible. The League also accepted Volscine demands to hold an independence referendum in Correva, which would lead to political violence and the eventual collapse of the country.

The incident has largely been considered a watershed moment in contemporary Novaran history, due to its reigniting West Novaran political rivalries as well as precipitating the establishment of a new government in Seccera, the formation of the Tolinsk Accords, and Tretridian entry into the North Concordian Economic Forum.

Background

Volscine Civil War and Nuova Volscina

After the Volscine Confederation fractured into two warring factions in 2002, about a quarter of the former country's territory broke away when Cavellan declared independence as Nuova Volscina and when Tretrid seized and occupied Seccera.

After the Volscine Civil War ended, the victorious Volscine Empire claimed Nuova Volscina's territory as rightfully Volscine. The unpopular oligarchic regime of Nuova Volscina likely would have collapsed or been toppled by Volscina if Tretrid had not moved to ally itself with the country, propping the state up. Tretrid sought to prevent a resurgent Volscina from reclaiming its former territorial extent, to effectively prevent it from regaining its pre-Civil War strength.

This was highly controversial, even in Tretrid itself. Opposition politicians denounced the move as propping up a corrupt, ineffective regime, especially in light of the increasingly unpopular continued occupation of Seccera. After members of the Nuova Volscine Council were implicated in the corruption scandals around then-Prime Minister Æthelred Wulfricson in 2016, continued Tretridian support of the regime was denounced as corrupt and fueled by bribery from Nuova Volscine officials. By the time Eoforwine Æthelstanson became Prime Minister at the end of the year, he noted his "reluctance" to continue supporting the state but believed that it was "absolutely necessary" for Tretrid's foreign policy.

Correvaci's coup

On July 24, 2020, the Prätorianer assassinated the entire ruling council of Nuova Volscina. Backed by the Prätorianer, Field Marshal Guerino Correvaci seized control of the country and declared himself king of the newly proclaimed state of Correva.

While the coup was well received within Correva, whose populace had languished under the kleptocratic government of Nuova Volscina, international opinion was rather more mixed. Mere hours after the coup, Tretridian Prime Minister Eoforwine Æthelstanson formally recognized Correva as the legitimate successor state to Nuova Volscina and renewed the Tretridian alliance with the state. The Prime Minister promised to cede Seccera, which still lay under Tretridian military administration, to Correva once the state consolidated. The League of Novaris was also quick to recognize Correva, determining that, as the successor state to Nuova Volscina, they would hold the formerly Nuova Volscine seat in the Novaran Council.

On the other hand, Volscina denounced Correvaci as a "dangerous revolutionary," and sent soldiers to the border between Volscina and Correva. Furthermore, Volscina laid claim to lakes on the Volscine-Correvan border. Almost immediately, allegations that Volscine soldiers had been sent into Correvan territory cropped up. Correvaci placed the army on alert in response, though Volscina stringently denied these claims, insisting that the soldiers were Correvan.

The sinking

The NRN Constantino Buccio was a frigate that patrolled the Johannes Bay. In the direct aftermath of Correvaci's coup and the reported Volscine incursions, the ship was placed on alert due to the possibility of Volscine ships encroaching on Correvan territorial waters.

At 2:23 on the morning of July 29, a submarine was detected by the frigate. Captain Erhardt Armbruster ordered that the ship attempt to contact the submarine to order it to leave Correvan waters or risk being fired upon. The submarine did not reply, and markedly refused to move from its position.

The flag of Volscina, which the unidentified submarine was flying at the time of the attack.

At about 2:28, the submarine was spotted surfacing. Reports indicated that it flew the naval ensign of Volscina. Armbruster once again tried to contact the ship to order it to leave Correvan waters. Once again, the submarine did not respond.

At about 2:33, the submarine fired two torpedoes at the Constantino Buccio. Armbruster would later report that he was about to order that the frigate fire a warning shot at the submarine when the torpedoes were spotted. Both torpedoes struck the Constantino Buccio—one in the center of the ship, and one in the bow. Armbruster was knocked unconscious by the first explosion.

The ship incurred numerous casualties from the explosions, mainly shrapnel injuries, though several sailors suffered burns. The Constantino Buccio sank very quickly after it was torpedoed, being completely submerged in about five minutes, though most of the crew managed to evacuate to lifeboats in that time.

Aftermath

International reactions

 Volscina: Empress Ilse Erika von Freyaelv called the attacks "beyond any reason or plans we could have had," and called the submarine "rogue." She condemned the attacks while denying that the submarine was Volscine, claiming that they had no records of any Volscine submarines. Von Freyaelv promised to declassify Volscine records of submarine activity to clear up any suspicion.

Älemsi Negdel: The Älemsi Foreign Ministry called for calm and an international investigation while condemning the attack,

Astela: President Moreno Reo condemned the attack and dismissed it as a false flag effort.

Antora: Prime Minister Gabriella Orellana termed the sinking a “distressing and entirely dishonorable violation of the respect for law that civilized society depends on.” The Prime Minister further gave recommendations for Corric nationals to avoid the Volscine and Correvan territories. King Sebastián II gave orders to the Royal Corric Armada to monitor shipping in the area of the sinking.

Cryria: Prime Minister Charles Marlberg issued a statement of support for the Volscine position and called for an international investigation into the matter while saying that "The suggestion that a genuine Volscine Navy submarine, a warship built for no purpose other than stealth, would choose to surface and display its flag before attacking attacking a foreign vessel is so patently ludicrous it does not deserve consideration." The Cryrian government position has since remained that the incident was a deliberate false flag effort, although neither the Marlberg Government nor the succeeding Lundberg Government have directed blame towards any specific entity.

 Durakia: In a statement made by the Council of Trade Unions that included a condemnation of the sinking, the position was taken that a lack of substantial evidence clouded the crisis, criticizing both Tretrid and Volscina for rushing to accusations which could "endanger the fragile peace in the region." Secretary of Diplomacy Sergei Alov expressed advocation for an investigation led by an independent body, however noted Durakia's intentions to " object to any Volscine advances into Correva." In his last major public appearance before his death, Direklieter Horis Adley noted the crisis as a cause for his loss of belief in the possibility of regional solidarity, hinting at it as one of the causes for the creation of the Durakan Nuclear Arms Program.

Ekvatora: Direklieter Ivica Petrovich stated the attack appeared, in no indefinite terms, an "Act of Volscine Aggression and Imperialism" and called for Volscina to "accept what would be the necessary consequences of their actions." However, Ekvatora took no hostile diplomatic action against Volscina other than the condemnation of the action accredited to them.

Katyunon: A statement on the matter to the Katyunion Congress of Soviets by Premier Aino Jokinen he condemned both sides for "escalating tensions within the region", stating "acts like this will led to war, which will bring the death and suffering of thousands of innocent people in the name of Imperial ambition". Elliusha Helena leader of the Marxist Vanguard also denounced both sides of the Incident as Imperialists only out to suppress the Proletariat and called for an increase in defense spending to "defend the revolution and our comrades of Novaris.

 Lapinumbia: Doge Enrico Dandolo released a statement condemning the attacks in "the harshest possible terms." He stated his hopes that Tretrid, Volscina, and Correva would seek mediation in the League of Novaris before further escalating the situation.

Nagato: Although neutral in much of the world's conflicts, Grand Duke Kyon and Prime Minister Moka Akashiya have agreed to support Correvan sovereignty while Grand Advisor Daniel said publicly that he, along with Kyon and Akashiya will, "condemned any attacks that can violate Correvan sovereignty to their claimed land."

Serramal: The government of Serramal condemned the attacks and called for international measures to ensure the security of shipping south of Novaris.

 Tavaris: While noting that "the exact details of this event are still unclear," Tavari Minister of External Affairs Õtani Delora Tanvani released a statement saying that it would constitute "an unacceptable violation of Correvan sovereignty." Delora Tanvani "unequivocally and whole-heartedly" condemned the attacks.

 Transnalpia: When asked of the matter in a press conference, Prime Minister Æðelræd Ecgbehrtson expressed his "grave concern" and stated that "Correva is a sovereign state recognized by the League of Novaris." He harshly condemned the perpetrators as a "violation of the rights of a sovereign state."

 Tretrid: Prime Minister Eoforwine Æthelstanson immediately pinned the blame for the sinking on Volscina, stating that the attack was "a blatant attack on Correvan sovereignty by the Volscines" and that claims that the attack was a false flag operation carried out by a different party were "completely unsubstantiated."

League of Novaris response

In response to the attacks, the Novaran Council held an emergency meeting on July 31. In his opening address in the meeting, Secretary-General Æthelwine Heardson warned the Novaran Council that "the tide of imperialism [and] the tide of the political ambitions of nations is rising once again," and that "the road this guides us down [...] leads to war, to suffering, to misery, to death." He stated that a "choice between peace and prosperity or destruction and death" was before the Council.

Volscine LN Ambassador Constanzo Saturnino stated to the Novaran Council that Volscine naval records contradict the suggestion that one of their submarines was in Correvan waters and noted that various experts had verified them. He also pointed out that Correvan sources had indicated that the submarine had not headed back north towards Volscina, and argued that only circumstantial evidence placed Volscina under suspicion for the attack. He also reaffirmed the Volscine policy that Correva was rightfully Volscine.

Tretridian LN Ambassador Beorhtsige Wulfricson, in response to Saturnino, expressed his belief that the records could have been faked, and that the submarine could have instead returned southwest towards Ietracia. He also pointed out claims that Volscina had already violated Correvan sovereignty by having their troops crossed the border and stated that verified Correvan records contradicted Volscine claims that said soldiers were Correvan.

The Novaran Council eventually voted to hold a referendum in Correva to determine the future sovereign status of the state over Wulfricson's objections. The Council also voted to form a commission dedicated to investigating the attacks.