Repairs on fire-damage sub could take a year

President Medvedev instructs to take all measures to restore the submarine. That job will take at least one year says the shipyard that does complex overhauling of Russia’s strategic nuclear powered submarines.


As the metal in the front bow of the submarine “Yekaterinburg” is cooling after last week’s massive fire in the floating dock north of Murmansk, experts now start the assessments on the damage.

Firefighters cooling the hull of the submarine by pumping water on the front bow. Photo: Ministry of Emergency Situations

- According to our first assessments, repairs may take as long as one year, says Yevgeny Gladyshev, spokesman for the Zvezdockha naval yard to RIA Novosti.

He says the repair time will be known as soon as the extent of the damage is known and when it becomes clear whether the submarine’s hydro acoustic system needs to be replaced.

Zvezdockha naval yard in Severodvinsk outside Arkhangelsk is the only yard in northwest Russia that does major repairs and overhaul of the Northern fleet’s larger nuclear powered submarines. The floating dock in Roslyakova north of Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula is normally only used for limited maintains on the hulls of submarines.

Rubber on the outer hull in the front nose of the submarine was set on fire, likely caused by welding, on December 29th causing massive smoke and heat development as previously reported by BarentsObserver. Photos from the floating dock the day after shows firefighters pumping large amount of water on the hull and even inside one of the torpedo tubes to cool it down.  

President Dmitri Medvedev has instructed newly appointed Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin to conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of the fire, the presidential portal reports. The investigation will be one of the first tasks for Dmitri Rogozin after returning home from the position as Russia’s high profiled envoy to NATO in Brussels.

Yekaterinburg” was scheduled for a larger so-called mid-life repair in 2013, according to a military source talking to Echo Moskva. If the repair need is so wide-ranging that the sub must be towed to Severodvinsk already now, it is likely that the larger overhaul will take place already this year.