Russia’s Only Aircraft Carrier Seriously Damaged In A Shipyard Accident


Russia’s sole aircraft carrier the Admiral Kuznetsov faced severe damage when the floating drydock in which it was being repaired, sank. According to reports, 71 workers at the shipyard were evacuated when the drydock started sinking suddenly. Four workers were injured in the incident, and one is missing. The carrier was later towed out of the drydock and transferred to another nearby shipyard, namely the 35th Repair Plant. When the drydock sank, the carrier was in the middle of a much-needed overhaul at 1082-foot long and 219-foot wide PD-50 drydock in Kola Bay near Murmansk.

There are only two facilities in Russia which can hold ships as large as Kuznetsov, and one of it has sunk. According to news, a power outage at the repair plant caused the incident. The blackout caused the ballast tanks of the drydock to fill rapidly and sunk the entire system. The carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was in the process of leaving the facility, however, the ship couldn’t leave without any damage. A 70-ton crane fell on the carrier when the drydock sank and caused a sixteen-foot wide hole in the hull and flight deck of the ship.

Over the last years, the carrier already faced various issues like fires, budget cuts, and busted steam boilers. Admiral Kuznetsov was commissioned in 1990 and was inherited by Russia when the USSR broke up. It rarely went to sea and conducted only six patrols between 1991 and 2015. In 2009, an electrical accident killed a crewwoman, but Russia kept pushing the ship into service. Before the hole was smashed into the carrier, the current refit was expected to stay the Kuznetsov running for another 25 years. The upgrade involved replacing four of the ship’s eight turbo-pressurized boilers, refurbishing the other four, and making improvements to the flight deck, hanger, and electronic warfare, communication, intelligence, navigation, and combat control capabilities. Last year, the upgrade budget was cut into half, and a new TASS report said that the ship would receive new boilers, upgrades to flight operations equipment and the Pantsir-M close in the defense system. Now the carrier will need far more than just upgrades to be able to run again.