The fire started in the battery compartment, but did not affect the reactor, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu reports to Vladimir Putin.
According to the defense minister, the special purpose submarine can be fully restored and taken back in service. Sergey Shoigu, on Thursday morning, met with President Putin following his trip to Severomorsk, the Northern Fleet headquarters, on Wednesday.
“We are using the services of the submarine designers and industry representatives to assess the volume and timeframe of repairs,” Shoigu told the President.
“Our first conclusion is that the submarine can be repaired. Moreover, this must be done, in this particular case,” the defense minister underlined.
He also made clear that the reactor compartment is unaffected by the accident. It is isolated and without people, he told Putin.
“The crew has taken the necessary measures to save the unit, which is in working order. This means we can repair the submersible quickly.”
An experienced crew
The fire onboard the Losharik (AS-31) broke out on the evening of July 1. A total of 14 sailors died. Among them where two highly decorated Heroes of Russia, seven 1st rank captains and three 2nd rank captains. The crew included some of the the most experienced men in the Russian Navy.
The vessel reportedly was in Russian territorial waters when the fire started. Fishermen were eye witnesses to the ship when it suddenly surfaced near the Ura Bay, about 100 km east of the border to Norway.
The Ministry of Defense on Wednesday released the list of the dead. The Losharik was headed by ship captain Denis Dolonsky, 1st rank captain and Hero of Russia.
Two of the dead come from Murmansk, news agency SeverPost informs. The remaining parts of the crew came from St. Petersburg.
According to the Russian Armed Forces, a special crew is now following up the families of the dead. Material support will be provided and the studies and education of the children involved will be taken care of.
It is the worst accident in the Russian Navy since 2008. According to local media, a memorial plate with the names of the sailors of the Losharik might be added to the memorial site of the Kursk, the submarine that wrecked in 2000, killing all 118 men onboard.
Related stories from around the North:
Norway: Was a nuclear-able Soviet sub near Norway’s coasts during a deadly 1984 fire?, The Independent Barents Observer
Russia: Russia’s only aircraft carrier damaged as floating dock sinks, The Independent Barents Observer
United States: U.S. Navy plans to be more active in the Arctic, Alaska Public Media