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Renowned Russian voyageur to plunge into expedition to explore sunken Soviet battleship

Novorossiysk battleship sank in 1955 following two explosions
Fyodor Konyukhov Sergei Malgavko/TASS
Fyodor Konyukhov
© Sergei Malgavko/TASS

SEVASTOPOL, July 12. /TASS/. Russian voyageur and explorer Fyodor Konyukhov plans to participate in a diving expedition to explore the Novorossiysk battleship in the Bay of Sevastopol, Sevastopol State University told TASS on Friday. The expedition was organized by the university’s employees.

"Regular dives are planned for next week as part of the expedition. Celebrated voyageur Fyodor Konyukhov will be among those exploring the shipwreck site. He is supposed to reach the depth of 17 meters," a university representative commented, specifying that the plans include retrieving a few objects, particularly furniture and various items.

Sevastopol and Kursk archeologists and students are carrying out the expedition to the Novorossiysk battleship wreckage site. The seabed is being examined using diving equipment and remote control underwater robots.

By now, Fyodor Konyukhov has sailed around the world five times, has crossed the Atlantic Ocean 17 times and has become the first Russian to complete the Explorers Grand Slam — he climbed the highest mountains on all the seven continents and visited the North Pole and the South Pole. In 2007, Konyukhov circumnavigated the Southern Hemisphere aboard a sailing yacht dubbed the Scarlet Sails in his voyage across the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. In 2019, he completed a solo sailing expedition on a custom-made rowboat across the southern part of the Pacific Ocean, which became the first stage of his round-the-world expedition.

The Novorossiysk battleship sank while at anchor in Sevastopol on October 29, 1955. Two powerful explosions ripped a massive hole in the ship. The causes of the tragedy are still unknown. The versions included an explosion of a World War II underwater mine or of the ship’s arsenal, or even sabotage. The tragedy took hundreds of lives, including the emergency crews from other ships.