Fire on Russia's only aircraft carrier injures 10

Clay Curtis
December 13, 2019

The Admiral Kuznetsov was to be the first of a new fleet of Soviet aircraft carriers, but the Russian navy has been hit by a huge drop in funding since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

In the intervening months, Russian Federation seems to have been working on repairing the vessel at their arctic port in Murmansk, that is, until Thursday, when the aircraft carrier once again burst into flames during repairs.

According to the Zvezdochka shipyard, quoted by RIA Novosti, the ignition of power cables is responsible for the incident.

Russian news agencies quoted local emergency services as saying at least 10 people had been injured, with six reported to be in intensive care.

According to Russia's state-owned news outlet TASS, the fire first began in the vessel's engine room on the second deck before rapidly expanding to encompass an area of around 600 meters, or almost two thousand square feet.

Russia's industry ministry told AFP that once the fire is out, officials would launch a probe and evaluate the extent of damage.

The repairs were expected to be completed by the end of 2020, with the warship rejoining the navy in 2021.

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The Admiral Kuznetsov has seen action in Russia's military campaign in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad, with its planes carrying out air strikes on rebel forces.

On a 2016 mission in Syria, the carrier saw the loss of two onboard fighter jets in just three weeks.

The carrier, which has been docked at the port since April 2018, was undergoing an upgrade when the fire broke out during welding work, the officials said.

The press service of the Zvyozdochka ship fix center said the specialists working onboard the vessel have been evacuated, TASS reported.

In the last six years, three fires have been reported on submarines under fix.

The aircraft carrier is has always been beset with operational problems.

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