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Lawyers appeal against verdict in Nerpa nuke sub accident case

October 17, 2011, 12:19 UTC+3

On October 14, the Pacific Military Court acquitted submarine commander Dmitry Lavrentyev and Sergeant Major Dmitry Grobov

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VLADIVOSTOK, October 17 (Itar-Tass) — Military prosecutors of the Pacific Fleet on Monday lodged an appeal against the not-guilty verdict in the case over the accident at the nuclear submarine Nerpa in 2008, in which 20 people were killed.

The verdict was handed down on October 14. The prosecutor's appeal, together with the documents on the court hearing, will be forwarded to the military panel under the Supreme Court within the next few days.

Relatives of the fatalities appealed against the verdict too. They insist on overturning it.

On October 14, the Pacific Military Court acquitted submarine commander Dmitry Lavrentyev and Sergeant Major Dmitry Grobov. The jury ruled that the investigators had failed to prove the fact of activation of the fire-extinguishing system because of the "human" factor, which resulted in fatalities.

The military court also refused to meet the relatives' damages suits.

During a trial run of the submarine in the Sea of Japan on November 8, 2008, there occurred an unauthorized activation of the ship-borne fire extinguishing system. As a result, 20 people died, and another 38 suffered various degrees of poisoning with tetracholoroethylene and freon. The submarine was not in service with the Russian Navy at the time of the accident.

There were 208 people on board. The fatalities were 17 civilians (members of the trial team of the manufacturing company) and three servicemen.

In June 2011, the Pacific Fleet military court began a behind-closed doors jury trial of Captain, 1st rank Lavrentyev and cargo engineer, petty officer 2nd class Grobov. Lavrentyev was accused of exceeding his authority which led to the negligent death of two or more people. Specifically, the investigators blamed him for not arranging the training of crewmembers on new equipment and the actions in emergencies before the trial run.

Grobov was accused of causing death of two or more persons through negligence because of improper performance of his duties, as well as grave bodily harm to two members of the trial crew. The investigators believe that it was him who had launched the fire extinguishing system during his watch. Grobov did it out of boredom, the investigators claimed. 

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