More information about the Russian Nerpa submarine and its accident
The Russian Navy has successfully tested an Akula class nuclear attack submarine nine months after 20 sailors were killed and 21 more hospitalsed when the fire suppression system badly failed aboard the same submarine during trials in December, the sub’s builder and Russia media have reported. The submarine accident, the worst to hit the Russian navy since 118 sailors died in 2000 when the Kursk nuclear submarine sunk in the Barents Sea, exposed the gap between the Kremlin’s ambitions and its military capabilities, giving the Navy yet another black eye.
A fresh sea trial of the Soviet-designed Nerpa submarine began on July 10th in the Sea of Japan and was completed successfully, RIA quoted a source at the Amur shipyard, where the submarine was built, as saying.
“The first stage of the test was completed successfully,” the source was quoted by the state-run RIA Novosti Russian news wire as saying.
“The craft is in base (…) to prepare for the second stage of the test,” he said. He did not comment on when the submarine would be fully ready.
Another, higher ranking official at the Amur shipyard declined to comment on the reported test when contacted by Bellona Web. The navy similarly would not officially comment on the recent Nerpa sea trials.
The initial accident on the Nerpa last November was chalked up by Bellona’s Alexander Nikitin, a former sub captain in the Russian navy, to the sheer number of people aboard the submarine during it’s original sea trial. The crew of a standard Akula class submarine numbers 73, and three times as many were aboard during the accident.