Russia’s Sole Aircraft Carrier Catches Fire in Northern Port

Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, caught fire on Thursday during maintenance work in Russia’s Arctic port in Murmansk, with eight people reportedly hospitalized, Russian news agencies reported.

One source told the state-run TASS news agency that the fire had started on the upper deck and that thick, black smoke was billowing from the vessel.

Eight people have been hospitalized due to the fire and up to three of them are in serious condition, Interfax cited an unnamed source with knowledge of the incident as saying Thursday afternoon. Ten people have been injured overall.

A source in the emergency services told TASS that firefighters were finding it difficult to reach the blaze because of the heavy smoke caused by burning cables.

The Admiral Kuznetsov has had a troubled history since it was buit and launched by the Soviet Union in 1985. It has been undergoing repairs at a shipyard near Murmansk following combat operations in Syria, where it was blighted by problems and lost two aircraft due to malfunctions with the carrier’s arresting gear.

The additional repairs were not expected to affect the Admiral Kuznetsov’s return into service in 2022, Russia’s state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) said two days before the fire erupted. It was not immediately clear when or whether the ill-fated aircraft carrier would return to the Russian Navy.

Source: themoscowtimes – 12. 12. 2019

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