Russia’s warship Admiral Kuznetsov damaged as dock SINKS into sea

Russian state media initially reported there was no damage to the Kuznetsov when the dock sank into the icy sea but a report by 360TV channel later claimed there has been unspecified damage to Russian flagship “after two dock tower cranes collapsed”.

The dock’s ballast tanks were overloaded with water after a power cut while repairs were being carried out on the Kuznetsov.

The sunken dock is one of the largest in the world – and crucial to the repairs of large naval surface ships and submarines in Mr Putin’s battle fleet.

Zvezdochka shipyard spokesman Yevgeny Gladyshev said: “Despite an emergency, the Admiral Kuznetsov was floated. The schedule for its repairs was not disrupted.

“As far as we know the circumstances now, the accident happened as Admiral Kuznetsov carrier was launched into the water. I can’t say if the dock was damaged.”

Sources said the floating dock had already sunk completely.

The 360TV report stated: “Russia’s only aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov has been damaged after two dock tower cranes collapsed.”

The Admiral Kuznetsov – commissioned in 1990 – is undergoing a refit begun in July. It has been involved in naval convoys passing the British coast.

The accident appears to be a major set back for the Russian military machine since the dock is seen as the only one suitable for the aircraft carrier and the Pyotr Velikiy Kirov-class battlecruiser.

An eye-witness told Murmansky Vestnik newspaper: “The dock sank partially at first, then it broke and went underwater completely, now even its machine tower is not visible.”

Four people were taken to hospitals in Rogalyovo and Murmansk where they were treated for hypothermia.

One person is reported to have suffered stomach injuries.

Viktor Rogalev, Head of the Murmansk Territorial Disaster Medicine Centre, said that one of the workers was in a “grave condition”.

Three other men were in a “moderately bad state” after being plucked from the icy waters of Kola Bay.

The 330-metre-long and 76-metre-wide floating dry dock was built in 1980 in Sweden for the Soviet Navy, and has a capacity of up to 80,000 tons.

It was designed specifically for the repair of the former Soviet Union’s large ships and submarines.

Additional reporting by Will Stewart