Russia’s new icebreaker may enter service later than scheduled after fire

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ST. PETERSBURG, November 28. /TASS/. The new icebreaker Viktor Chernomyrdin may enter service later than scheduled after it was hit by a fire late on Tuesday, the press office of Russia’s sea transport infrastructure operator Rosmorport told TASS on Wednesday.

“The timeframe of putting the vessel into operation may be slightly rescheduled. More exact information can be given after the damage is estimated,” the Rosmorport spokesman said.

Russia’s United Ship-Building Corporation received an order from Rosmorport on the icebreaker’s construction in 2011. The icebreaker’s construction was launched at the Admiralty Shipyard in northwest Russia in October 2012.

Expert opinion

The consequences of the fire won’t affect the timeframe of commissioning the vessel on time but the shipbuilders will have to accelerate the vessel’s restorative repairs, Leading Expert of the Center of Comprehensive European and International Studies at the Faculty of the World Economy and World Politics of the Higher School of Economics National Research University, Director General of Infranews research agency Alexei Bezborodov said.

“The Shipyard will have to speed up both the repairs and the restoration of what has been damaged by the fire but this is not a big problem. I doubt this will seriously delay it [the vessel’s delivery for service] or even delay it at all… The propulsion unit, the steering system and the control elements have not been affected and, therefore, the repairs won’t take much time or money,” Bezborodov told TASS.

The Admiralty Shipyard earlier said that the incident won’t affect the timeframe of delivering the vessel for service.

Fire on the icebreaker

The fire alarm call came to the Crisis Management Center in St. Petersburg at 7 p.m. Moscow time. The blaze partially engulfed the vessel’s third and fourth decks, spreading to an area of 300 square meters (out of 1,200 square meters in total). According to earlier reports, two people were injured. One of the victims was hospitalized, the other refused to go to hospital and was examined by doctors on site.

At 9:10 p.m. it was announced that the fire had been localized and extinguished on an area of 300 square meters.

The Russian Investigative Committee’s North-Western Investigation Department for Transport has opened a criminal case into the incident. The fire damage has exceeded 1.5 million rubles ($22,500), the investigators said.

Icebreaker Viktor Chernomyrdin

The Project 22600 icebreaker Viktor Chernomyrdin with a capacity of 25 MW has been under construction since December 2012. It is expected to become the world’s most powerful non-nuclear-powered icebreaker and operate on the Northern Sea Route.

It was earlier reported that the icebreaker was expected to be delivered to the customer in the fourth quarter of 2018. It was also reported that the icebreaker Viktor Chernomyrdin was due to enter trials in 2019.

The fire won’t affect the timeframe of delivering the icebreaker to the customer, the Shipyard’s press office said.

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