Russia Submarine Fire Out
December 31, 2011 by staff
Russia Submarine Fire Out, The authorities in Russia marshaled more than 400 firefighters and 170 emergency workers to extinguish a fire Friday that had raged for almost a day on the hull of a nuclear submarine in dry dock near the northern port of Murmansk. Seven sailors and two emergency workers were treated for smoke inhalation.
On Thursday, enormous plumes of smoke and flame lit the sky above the submarine, the 550-foot Yekaterinburg, a Delta IV-class vessel commissioned in 1985. Officials claimed to have brought the fire under control within hours. But Friday they made clear that the effort had been enormous. Only by partly submerging the vessel were they able to douse the flames on the hull’s rubber coating, which minimizes noise and makes the submarine more difficult for enemies to detect. The chief of the General Staff of the Russian armed forces, Nikolai Makarov, flew to the snowy port with a team of military investigators, and the story topped the Friday news on Russian television.
President Dmitry Medvedev ordered investigators to uncover the cause of the fire and told military officials to ensure that the vessel could return to service. Vice Premier Dmitri Rogozin told the Interfax news agency that the fire had not affected the vessel’s seaworthiness, although other officials said the extent of the damage was not yet clear.
Russia has been shaken by a grim series of submarine disasters in the past. In 2000, an onboard explosion sank the Kursk submarine in the Barents Sea, killing all 118 sailors and officers aboard. In that case, information was slow to emerge, and the authorities initially refused offers of rescue help from foreign navies while insisting that a collision with a foreign submarine had caused the crash. The slow government response provoked public fury and stained the country’s then-new president, Vladimir Putin.
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