Sea Platforms

Russia’s sole aircraft carrier damaged by sinking of floating dock

02 November 2018

The Russian aircraft carrier seen following the sinking of its dry dock on 30 October 2018. A crane can clearly be seen lying on the flight deck. Source: Credit: Withheld

Key Points

  • Russia’s sole aircraft carrier was damaged on 30 October when the floating dock that was carrying it sank
  • Russia has an acute shortage of floating docks large enough to accommodate its largest warships

The 30 October sinking of the floating dock PD-50 in Roslyakovo has resulted in damage to the hull and the flight deck of Admiral Kuznetsov : the Russian Navy’s sole aircraft carrier. As a result of PD-50 sinking cranes mounted on the dock collapsed, one of which struck the carrier, according to the president of the Russian United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), Aleksei Rakhmanov. The ship is undergoing a major overhaul at the 82nd Ship Repair Plant in Roslyakovo, which is located in the country’s northern Murmansk region.

“We are currently conducting an assessment of the damage. The crane fell to the deck from a height of about 15 m. It is clear that there is damage to the hull and damage to the deck, but fortunately this has occurred in areas that are not associated with the operation of the ship’s vital equipment,” he said in remarks to Russian news agency TASS. Photos of the carrier taken at the mooring where Admiral Kuznetsov was towed after the accident show the crane still laying across the deck.

A criminal case has now been opened into the allegation that safety procedures were violated in the conduct of this repair work, specifically unauthorised operation of the ship-raising structures. According to a spokesman for the Investigating Committee of Russia, as a result of the incident there were five casualties: four workers were removed from the water with symptoms of frostbite and were taken for medical care, while one person is missing, presumed dead.

There are conflicting statements as to the cause of the accident. The press service of the 35th Ship Repair Plant in Murmansk, a neighbouring facility where the ship was moored after the accident, stated that power outages to the floating dock caused an uncontrolled filling of the dock’s ballast tanks.

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