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Russian ship repair center not requested so far to help in investigation

August 16, 2013, 11:53 UTC+3
However, Zvyozdochka ship repair center spokesperson left open the possibility that such inquiry would be made later
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Photo ITAR-TASS/Marina Lystseva

Photo ITAR-TASS/Marina Lystseva

ARKHANGELSK, August 16 (Itar-Tass) - India has not asked the Severodvinsk-based Zvyozdochka ship repair centre so far to help in the investigation into the submarine disaster in the port of Mumbai, the plant's press secretary Nadezhda Shcherbinina told Itar-Tass on Friday.

She did not rule out that inquiries would be made later about some mechanisms and systems of the submarine, which underwent modernization in Severodvinsk.

Zvyozdochka is ready to provide assistance in the investigation to establish the causes of the disaster, the press secretary noted.

Seven Russian specialists (but not eight or nine, as other sources said) are in Mumbai at present, Shcherbinina said. Five of them are from Zvyozdochka and two are representatives of contractor companies that serviced the submarine. They will stay in India for indefinite time, as the investigating commission may have questions to them, the spokeswoman said.

The Sindhurakshak submarine built in Russia was repaired and modernized at the Zvyozdochka plant in accordance with the contract signed with the Indian Defence Ministry on June 4, 2010. In August 2010, the Sindhurakshak arrived in Severodvinsk. In June 2012, after the repair, the submarine was launched. In November-December, the ship successfully underwent tests in training areas in the White Sea, including tests of the torpedo and missile systems. In January 2013, the Sindhurakshak headed for Mumbai. The submarine went the route of 8,000 nautical miles in three months and arrived at the base in late April.

After the arrival, the submarine several times left the base for duty trips, Zvyozdochka sources said.

The submarine sank on the night from August 13 to 14, when it was planned to leave for service. According to the preliminary information, a fire broke out aboard, and it caused two explosions in the torpedo section. Among the versions are an explosion caused by hydrogen discharge during battery charging and an error when placing missiles. According to Indian officials, all the 18 crewmembers who were aboard died. Russians were not hurt.

The Sindhurakshak was built for the Indian Navy in 1997 at the Admiralty Shipyards in St. Petersburg. A modern Club-S missile complex and ten Indian and foreign-made systems, including a hydro acoustic Ushus and a radio contact system, were installed aboard the ship during the modernization at Zvyozdochka in 2010-12. Its cooling system was modernized, a Porpoise radar station was installed, and other work was done to improve its capabilities and safety.

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