Hijacked sub’s mission cancelled

Publish date: September 16, 1998

Written by: Igor Kudrik

The Akula-class nuclear-powered submarine hijacked last week by a 19-year-old conscript was under preparations for a sea trial. The mission has been postponed for an unspecified period of time.

The Akula-class submarine was under extensive preparations to leave its home base in Skalisty for a sea trial when hijacked by a draftee last week. The hijacking resulted in eight shot to death and one seriously wounded. The draftee barricaded himself in a torpedo compartment, threatening to blow up the whole sub. Naval officials said there was no danger for an explosion. Nevertheless, other vessels stationed nearby the submarine were moved from the area.

On Saturday, September 12, the marine desperado committed suicide when a special anti-terrorist group started an assault to open the sealed compartment.

Akula-class (Russian Bars-class) nuclear-powered submarines are capable of carrying SS-N-21 missiles and SS-N-15 torpedoes, both with nuclear warheads. However, according to Russian naval officials, there were no nuclear armour on board. As a matter of fact, on February 4, 1993, the Russian Defence Ministry stated that all tactical nuclear warheads had been withdrawn from vessels/submarines, and placed in central stores.

Nevertheless, the submarine was due to go on a sea trial, which, according to RIA News referring to the Russian Navy HQ, has been postponed for an unspecified period of time. "Most probably, the planned sea trial will be cancelled for good", said a naval official. The reason for such a decision was not identified. But, apparently, the Navy will have trouble with manning the submarine, as it lacks qualified draftees as well as officers.