04 july 2019
On Tuesday, Russia’s ministry of defense confirmed that 14 submariners died of smoke inhalation after a fire aboard a spy submarine.
“On July 1, fourteen submariners . . . died in Russian territorial waters as a result of inhaling combustion products aboard a research submersible vehicle designated for studying the seafloor and the bottom of the World Ocean in the interests of the Russian Navy after a fire broke out during bathymetric measurements,” the ministry said in a statement to state media.
According to the ministry, the fire was extinguished thanks to the deceased’s “self-sacrificing actions” and the sub was brought back to the base at Severomorsk, the home of Russia’s Northern Fleet. If accurate, the location of the port of refuge would indicate that the sub was operating in the Barents Sea at the time of the casualty.
A defense ministry source told Russian outlet RBC that the fire broke out aboard a “descent vehicle of the nuclear project 10831 (also known as ‘Losharik’),” and that the crew of the descent vehicle perished.
Losharik is a nuclear-powered, unarmed, ultra-deep-diving submarine built for covert operations. Its capabilities are little known, but it is believed to be deployed as a payload from a heavily-modified Delta III- or Delta IV-class ballistic missile submarine. It is not administered by the Russian Navy’s submarine service, but by the Main Directorate for Deep Sea Research, which functions as a separate bureau. “The main tasks that [the directorate faces] are listening to foreign underwater communication lines, lifting interesting weapons and military equipment from the depth, protecting our similar