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Legendary Russian cruiser Aurora to be towed to dockyard

Tugboats will tow the cruiser to a dockyard of Kronshtadt maritime plant for around 40 kilometres

ST. PETERSBURG, September 21. /ITAR-TASS/. Three bascule bridges across the Neva River in central St. Petersburg will be raised not only at night, but also in the daytime to deliver legendary cruiser Aurora to Kronshtadt dockyard for overhaul.

For the first time since 1987, when the museum-ship was repaired last time, residents and guests of the Russian northern capital will watch a unique event, as Aurora will be towed by four tugboats under overhanging arms of Troitsky, Dvortsovy and Blagoveshchensky bascule bridges.

Tugboats will tow the cruiser to a dockyard of Kronshtadt maritime plant for around 40 kilometres. All towing operation is expected to take around four hours.

Bascule bridges will be raised across the Neva River starting from 9.45 am Moscow time (5.45 am GMT) and towing will start exactly at 10 am Moscow time (6 am GMT) on Sunday.

Defence Ministry hopes that the cruiser will return to its ‘eternal mooring’ berth at the Petrograd embankment after the overhaul in 2016. Deadlines for repair will be announced after the ship is docked and the underwater part of its hull is examined, chief of the culture department of Defence Ministry Anton Gubankov said.

After the overhaul an exposition on board the museum-ship will almost double, meanwhile, the 1917 events, including the October Revolution, will cease to be its main topic, Ruslan Nekhai, director of the Central Naval Museum at which Aurora is its branch, said this week.

The weather will be favourable for the warship’s towing on Sunday, St. Petersburg weather forecasting service said. Weak southern, south-western winds reaching 5-8 metres per second are expected, chief of the weather forecasting department Yelena Rudyk told Itar-Tass. Waves will be no higher than half a meter in the Neva Bay.

The access of visitors on board Aurora was closed on September 9. While Aurora is out of customary mooring berth the city authorities will reconstruct the Petrograd embankment and will check utility lines to which the battle cruiser is connected at the anchorage site.

In the previous year the warship celebrated the 110th anniversary of its commissioning. The first-rate gun cruiser has been on combat duty in the Navy for almost half a century from 1903 to 1948, fighting in the battles of the Russo-Japanese War, the First World War, the Great Patriotic War and the 1917 revolutionary events.

In 1948 the battle cruiser was moored at the Petrograd embankment and has served as a training base for Leningrad Nakhimov Naval Academy up to 1956. In 1957 cruiser Aurora was turned in a museum ship, hosting a branch of the Central Naval Museum. In 1992 the St. Andrew naval flag was hoisted aboard the warship. Now the cruiser is registered in Culture Ministry as a federal cultural heritage site.