Fire on Russian boat


War Hero
Crew remained inside Russian nuclear submarine as firemen battled to put out massive blaze... but are they still trapped?

  • 'This is a very serious blow to Russia's nuclear deterrence capabilities'
  • Not clear whether remaining crew members had been ordered to stay
  • Seven others taken to hospital after inhaling toxic fumes
  • Russian President Medvedev insists there has been no radiation leak
  • He demands punishment of 'any culprits'
  • Damage could mean the submarine has to be scrapped

By Lee Moran

Last updated at 3:40 PM on 30th December 2011

A massive fire aboard a Russian nuclear submarine at an Arctic shipyard has finally been extinguished.
Several crew members remained inside the Yekaterinburg sub as the blaze raged overnight at a repair dock in Roslyakovo shipyard in the Murmansk region.
Defence Ministry spokesman Colonel Igor Konashenkov insisted there was never any danger of the fire spreading inside the sub and said the crew reported that conditions on board remained normal.
It remains unclear whether they were trapped by the flames or ordered to remain behind.
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Massive blaze: A fire aboard a Russian nuclear submarine at an Arctic shipyard has been extinguished. Several crew members remained inside the sub during the incident

Smouldering: It remains unclear whether the crew members were trapped by the flames or ordered to remain behind in the sub

Seven others who inhaled poisonous carbon monoxide fumes were evacuated to hospital.
Pavel Falgenhauer, a top Russian political analyst, warned: 'This is a very serious blow to Russia's nuclear deterrence capabilities.
'The loss of a strategic nuclear submarine, especially one that had been due to remain in service for at least another decade, hurts a lot.'


President Dmitry Medvedev has given assurances that there was no radiation leak and that the vessel's nuclear-tipped missiles were not on board. He has summoned top Cabinet officials to report on the situation and demanded punishment for anyone found responsible.
Military prosecutors have launched an investigation into whether safety regulations were breached.
The fire, which broke out yesterday and shot orange flames high into the air throughout the night, was put out this afternoon.
Firefighters continued to spray the vessel with water to cool it down, Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu said.

Russian state television earlier showed the rubber-coated hull of the submarine still smouldering, with firemen gathering around it and some standing on top to douse it with water.

In the clear? A Defence Ministry spokesman insisted there was never any danger of the fire spreading inside

Emergency: Seven crew members who inhaled carbon monoxide fumes were evacuated to hospital

Most modern submarines' outer hulls are covered with rubber to make them less noisy and more difficult for an enemy to detect.
Norway's Radiation Protection Authority across the border reported it has not measured any increased radioactivity.
The governor in Finnmark, Norway's north-eastern province that borders Russia, and the radiation agency complained about the Russian response.
Gunnar Kjoennoey said: 'There have been problems to get clear information from the Russian side. We have an agreement to exchange information in such cases, but there has been no information from the Russian side so far.'
Russia's military said the blaze started on wooden scaffolding and then engulfed the sub's outer hull. The vessel's nuclear reactor had been shut down and its nuclear-tipped missiles and other weapons had been unloaded before dry-dock repairs, it said.

President Dmitry Medvedev has given assurances that there was no radiation leak and that the vessel's nuclear-tipped missiles were not on board

Thick smoke rises from the dock where the Yekaterinburg was being repaired


Toxic fumes from the blaze had spread to the town of Roslyakovo where the shipyard is located, but officials said there was no need to evacuate local residents.


The huge fire which engulfed the Yekaterinburg nuclear submarine is the latest catastrophe to afflict Russian submarines in recent years.

In November 2008 20 Russians choked to death on poisonous gas on board the Nerpa nuclear submarine.

The men suffocated when faulty firefighting equipment went off by mistake while the new craft was carrying out underwater tests in the Sea of Japan.

In August 2003, two member of a 10-man crew on a Russian K-159 sub died when the vessel sank in the Barents Sea.

The submarine's nuclear reactor was shut down at the time the vessel sank about three nautical miles north west of Kildin Island.

But by far the worst Russian sub disaster in recent memory happened on the Kursk (pictured above) in August 2000.

An explosion during exercises sent the nuclear sub to the bottom of the Barents Sea, killing all 118 men on board.

Russia refused offers of help from Britain and the United States and a Russian rescue attempt failed.

The former director of the biggest shipyard in the area said the fire was probably caused by the failure to take proper safety precautions, such as coating the scaffolding with special sprays to make it fire-resistant.
Nikolai Kalistratov said: 'It was either lack of professionalism or an attempt to save money that has turned into huge losses.'
The Yekaterinburg is a Delta IV-class nuclear-powered submarine that normally carries 16 nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles. The 548ft-long vessel has a displacement of 18,200 tons when submerged.
The chief of the General Staff of the Russian armed forces, General Nikolai Makarov, led a team of senior military officials to Roslyakovo to oversee the emergency response.
The damage from the fire could be so massive that the submarine would need to be scrapped. But Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who is in charge of the nation's military industries, today said that the submarine will rejoin the navy after repairs.
The Russian navy suffered its worst accident in August 2000, when the Kursk nuclear submarine exploded and sank during naval maneuvers, killing all 118 crew members aboard.
A 2008 accident at the Nerpa nuclear-powered submarine killed 20 Russian seamen and injured 21 others when its fire-extinguishing system activated in error and spewed suffocating Freon gas.

Read more: Russia submarine: Crew remained inside as firemen battled massive blaze | Mail Online


War Hero
Super Moderator
Bit of a non-story IMO, scaffolding caught fire which lit up the anechoic tiles. I fully expect our homegrown doom merchants in the media to start the anti-nuclear "death boats" bandwagon rolling.


War Hero
Super Moderator
I was on a T boat in dock when we had a bit of a fire which took out the bow array, we also had one back aft and it was the same dockie firewatcher both times, ironically his name was Burnham....gen dit.


War Hero
It would seem that the original report was being a little economical with the facts.The link is to the Barents Observer's view of the event.Be sure to watch the slideshow and see all the pictures most of which were not in the original report.

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