Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Deadly Fire On Russian Victor-III

There are several reports out this morning about two Russian submariners being killed aboard the Victor-III boat Daniil Moskovsky (St. Daniel of Moscow), hull number K-414. Reports say the fire that killed the Sailors was in the "electrical equipment" section of the engine room. From one of the articles:
"Our initial information is that the fire broke out in a power distribution panel in compartment No.6," said a spokesman for Russia's Northern Fleet.
"The crew did everything within their power to put out the fire. Two people suffered smoke inhalation from the thick smoke. They were evacuated from the submarine but it was not possible to save their lives."
This article says that the boat has already been towed back to Vidyayevo, which strikes me as pretty fast. Some other articles say the boat was anchored when the fire occurred. I think I'll wait for all the misleading initial reports to get sorted out before I try to figure out if the Russians are lying or not about this.

Of course, Reuters automatically came out with a list of other submarine accidents to compare this one against.

Staying at PD...

Update 2316 07 Sep: Bad news all around for Russian submariners today -- here's an article about a failed SSBN missile test.

Update 2353 07 Sep: Vigilis has much more on the K-414 fire.

Update 0644 08 Sep: Here's an excerpt of a translation of a follow-up Russian article:
A fire in one of the cells of St. Daniel of Moscow broke when the submarine was yet up-top, running from Vidyaevo naval base to the Barents Sea. When fighting the fire, two members of the crew, warrant officer Rafim Shibanov, 35, and contract sailor Igor Etyuev, 28, were heavily intoxicated by the carbon monoxide and evacuated to the vessel, which was nearby to back up the submarine in distress. But the physicians failed to save the sailors.
There is no threat of the nuclear contamination, the Navy assured. The breakdown wasn’t significant, said North Fleet Briefer Vladimir Navrotsky. "The fire broke in the electrical control unit, all systems were well-coordinated and the nuclear reactor was shut off.”
Nevertheless, the chiefs are unable to explain how the carbon monoxide could have killed the sailors despite that they were well equipped by special breathing apparatus. A sailor used a breathing apparatus, it is known now, but the oxygen ended in 10 minutes instead of the required 15 minutes.
It's looking like the Russian version of the story is iterating towards saying the boat was surfaced when the fire broke out, and there were already tugboats nearby. Normally non-Western diesel boats will surface and anchor at night, but I'm not sure why a nuclear boat would do that; maybe the Russians are getting a little dumb as they lose proficiency. In this case, though, it was probably lucky that they were surfaced -- submerged submarines fill up with smoke really, really fast when you have a major fire.


Blogger FOD said...

A little more info in this article, including a statement from Russian CNO, Adm. Vladimir Masorin. Because of the tight space in the compartment that burned, the two sailors who died either couldn't or simply didn't have time to use their personal breathing devices. One other sailor was injured when his device ran out of oxygen and he inhaled poisonous gases in the burning compartment. He is hospitalized and expected to recover.
The Admiral noted that it had "been a long time since the sub went through overhaul, and she was 16 years old, a rather "solid" age for a sub. But according to all documents the boat was listed as fully operational."

9/07/2006 7:18 AM

Blogger Vigilis said...

The timing of the latest tragedy has to be embarrassing for Admiral Masorin who, only a few days earlier, boasted to the press:

“Our country is still capable of building combat ships without outside assistance and there is no doubt it will be in the future,”
-Navy Commander Vladimir Masorin

9/07/2006 11:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a tragedy that two fellow submariners lost their lives fighting a fire on the boat. The reports make a semi-big deal about the lack of breathing protection, but the watch on board US submarines would not go running for EAB's or masks before jumping on a fire. I think it speaks volumes that the two sailors made efforts to put out the fire at the risks of their own lives. A tragic case of professionalism.


9/07/2006 5:43 PM

Blogger RM1(SS) (ret) said...

So which bloody boat is it, anyway? People keep referring to K-414; however, I've seen more websites (including both of the Russian ones I've looked at) that say Daniil Moskovskij is the K-388 than say it's the K-414.

9/08/2006 5:53 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fire and smoke have taken a big toll on Russian and Soviet submariners. So has stupidity, poor fire-resistant design, optimistic assumptions about emergency systems and a damage control scheme that isolates compartments from one another when it comes to crew, but not when it comes to smoke and fumes. They are traps. More, compartments (at least on the older boats that I wrote about) had free-flooding fire suppression bottles that might snuff out a fire but would definitely snuff out any sailor not on clean air. And the first casualty of a fire (again, on the older boats) was the emergency clean air manifolds.

9/08/2006 12:15 PM


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