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Russian N-sub mishap: Navy sends fact-finding mission

Press Trust Of India  |  Moscow 

An Indian Navy delegation travelled here on a fact-finding mission following an accident onboard a Russian nuclear submarine that was to be leased to it, even as shipbuilders blamed the inherent flaws of central control panel of the vessel for the mishap.

They also said “serious work” was required to make its fire-extinguishing system “foolproof”. “New modification of ‘Molibden’ central control panel is under trial on board the Nerpa (submarine), for the Indian variant. This is a ‘raw’ system, which even before had malfunctioned,” mechanical engineer of the Amur Shipyard, Sergei Stolnikov, told popular youth daily Komsomolskaya Pravda.

A high-level delegation led by Vice-chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Raman Prem Suthan, is here on a fact-finding mission as the Akula-II class nuclear attack submarine was to be leased to the Indian Navy sometime in next summer.

Stolnikov, who was a member of the pre-delivery trial team of the shipyard, 17 technical staff of which were among the casualties caused by the release of fire suppressing toxic freon gas, believes that the control system was probably “raw”, because its developer had died this summer and for three months the system was unattended.

“Just before the (sea going) trials it was believed to have been put in order: I think, on November 8 the fire safety system was triggered due to malfunctioning of ‘Molibden’,” he added.

First Published: Wed, November 26 2008. 00:00 IST