Two officers washed off submarine deck

Publish date: January 31, 2000

Written by: Igor Kudrik

Russian nuclear submarine surfaced in stormy sea; two officers perished.

Two sailors were washed off the deck of a nuclear submarine that surfaced in a stormy weather in the eastern part of the Barents Sea after having experienced problems.

The incident that claimed lifes of two submarine officers took place on January 29, Interfax reported. The submarine was said to be engaged in tracking down a Nato submarine patrolling the area. The Russian navy officials explained the abrupt decision made by the captain to surface in a stormy weather by the fact that the submarine’s mooring equipment appeared to be damaged.

Bellona Web sources assume that when the submarine went on patrol one of the hatches used for attaching mooring ropes was not properly sealed. Once a submarine starts gaining speed, an unsealed hatch would produce noise making it an easy task for the ‘enemy’ to detect it. The captain had apparently decided to remove the drawback to the mission by sending his two crewmen on the topside of the submarine to seal the hatch, but a big wave washed the two officers into the sea.

Body of one of the sailors was recovered the same day on January 29. The search for the other officer had been in progress until the second part of January 30. Despite that a number of boats, including nuclear powered icebreaker Taimyr, were engaged into the search party, the second body was not found, Russian commercial network NTV reported.

The submarine has reportedly its home base in Gadzhievo at the Kola Peninsula. Submarines of Delta-class and Akula-class are stationed there.