- Jul 2011
The Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier is seen in the PD-50 dry dock in the village of Roslyakovo in 2011.
One Person Missing, Four Hurt As Dry Dock Sinks, Damaging Russia's Only Aircraft CarrierFour workers have been injured and one remains missing after Russia's only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, suffered damage when a floating dry dock sank while the vessel was leaving it, officials say.
The waterborne repair station's sinking at an Arctic shipyard early on October 30 was the latest in a series of mishaps involving the Admiral Kuznetsov, which lost two military jets in accidents off the coast of war-torn Syria in 2016.
The PD-50 dry dock had "fully sank" by 3:30 a.m. local time at the 82nd Repair Shipyard in the village of Roslyakovo near the port city of Murmansk, regional Governor Marina Kovtun said on Twitter.
She said that two injured workers were hospitalized and two were treated without hospitalization.
"Unfortunately, one person has not yet been found," Kovtun said, adding that rescue divers were working at the site.
Hours later, authorities said that the divers were suspending their operations for the night due to darkness and that the missing worker had not been found.
One of the injured was in very serious condition, said Viktor Rogalyov, the head of the local Disaster Medicine Center.
Kovtun said that rescue divers from the Russian Navy's Northern Fleet were working at the site and that it was "hard to say" what caused the sinking.
Authorities said at least one crane fell when the dry dock sank, damaging the aircraft carrier, but that the damage was above the waterline and was not severe.
Aleksei Rakhmanov, head of the state-run United Shipbuilding Corporation, said experts are assessing the damage but that "the vitally important parts of the aircraft carrier were not affected."
The PD-50 was one of the world's largest dry docks.
Russia sent the 305-meter Admiral Kuznetsov to the Eastern Mediterranean in 2016 as part of its ongoing military campaign in support of Syrian government forces in the Middle Eastern country's devastating war.
An Su-33 military jet crashed while trying to land on the aircraft carrier there in December 2016, and a MiG-29 crashed a few kilometers from the vessel three weeks earlier.
A fire on board the carrier killed a sailor during a 2008-09 deployment, and an oil spill was spotted by the Irish Coast Guard near the vessel afterwards.
British jets observe the Kuznetsov and its task force sailing near England on their way around Europe to the Mediterranean and Syria in 2016
Last year, sailors line up on board to spell out the year and their board number
And more recently, back inside the PD-50 dock, where she was being refitted with new catapults and other aircraft systems, new weapons, such as Kalibr cruise missile launchers, etc.
Special airfield "Nitka" in Crimea, former Soviet Union's main base for training carrier pilots
Russia did not get this back until 2014, and it was in disuse until then, since '91. That was one of the reasons for the accidents off Syria. The pilots were not ready yet. But Putin and the defense ministry sent them over there anyway, as some kind of a gesture, people's lives be damned, as usual...
It is all the subject of much controversy over there. There is a faction within the Russian military, within the Navy, who see such vessels similarly to you Americans, as a prestigious attribute of a superpower.
Those ones have been pushing through so-called Project "Storm", a massive new, nuclear-powered carrier, which would dwarf the old "Kuznetsov" in both size and firepower
Some work on it is already in progress: Russia Kicks Off Work on Engine for Nuclear-Powered Supercarrier
It is to be the most expensive warship ever to be built thus far over there. Among other things, it will require the construction of new shipyard facilities, for the making of a vessel of such size...
There are, however, other people, including generals and admirals, who think carriers, including the prospective Storm, are little more than costly vanity projects for the brass, of dubious actual use in a real military confrontation with an equally advanced opponent like NATO, not worth all the money to be spent on it.
They push to concentrate on building instead more submarines, as submarine warfare has always been the main strength of Soviet and Russian Navy, as opposed to USN's carrier groups
They argue, in fact, that, if the push, God forbid, comes to shove, it will be Russia's (and China's) submarines who will sink America's carriers... And they cost much less $$$ too.
Anyhow, the dock, indeed one of the largest on Earth, is too valuable to write off, it will be raised and repaired, this will take many months ahead: https://www.interfax.ru/russia/635751
This latest mishap will land this camp more ammunition, I should think...