The Delta IV-class nuclear submarine caught fire on December 29 while it was in a floating dock at the naval yard Roslyakovo north of Murmansk on Russia’s Kola Peninsula for repairs. The fire led to serious damage of the submarine’s outer hull and it will have to be sent to Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk for repairs.
The costs are estimated to more than one billion rubles or over 24.5 million Euros.
“Yekaterinburg” can only be transported to Severodvinsk as early as May-June, when the White Sea is free of ice. Until then, the sub will remain in one of the Northern Fleet’s bases outside Severomorsk, a naval source says to ITAR-TASS.
Seven crewmembers and to rescue workers were injured as they battled the fire, which was put out only after 20 hours.
A military investigation committee has concluded that the fire started because of “crude violations of safety requirements during hot works aboard the submarine”. According to the investigation the fire developed between the outer and the inner hull, in the area where the submarine’s hydroacoustic antenna is located.
The investigators have opened a criminal case under the statute “destruction or damage of military property due to negligence.”
According to the first official reports after the fire, the rubber on the outer hull in the front nose of the submarine was set on fire, likely caused by welding. Pictures and videos published on Russian blogs show massive flames coming out of a large hole cut in the sub’s outer hull, suggesting that more than only the rubber coating was on fire.
Right after the incident President Medvedev ordered that all measures should be taken to restore the submarine. According to the first assessments Russian naval experts made after the fire, repairs will take at least one year, depending on whether the submarine’s hydro acoustic system needed to be replaced or not. It will probably be late 2013 before “Yekaterinburg” is out on water again.