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Crew evacuated as fire breaks out on Russia’s only aircraft carrier

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Crew evacuated as fire breaks out on Russia’s only aircraft carrier

  • Flames erupted on the ill-fated Admiral Kuznetsov in a Murmansk shipyard
  • Rescuers were able to extinguish the blaze without major damage to the vessel
  • A fire broke out on the same flagship in 2019, injuring 11 people 

A fire has broken out on Russia’s only aircraft carrier forcing the whole crew to evacuate.

The ill-fated Admiral Kuznetsov was docked in the Zvyozdochka shipyard in Murmansk for repairs when the blaze started on the vessel which has been beset with problems.

The fire erupted in the cabins on the port side of the flagship of the Russian navy, which also caught fire in 2019.

A source told Russia’s TASS news agency: ‘There was a fire on board the Admiral Kuznetsov, which is in the dry dock of the Zvyozdochka shipyard. 

A fire has broken out on Russia’s only aircraft carrier forcing the whole crew to evacuate (pictured off the coast of Norway in 2016)

‘There were no casualties, 20 people were evacuated.’

The fire was extinguished by 11.30am after firefighters rushed to the shipyard and they managed to avoid major damage to the vessel.

Alexei Rakhmanov, who heads the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) overseeing renovations, told RIA Novosti that the fire occurred during repair work. 

He said: ‘There was a local fire, it was extinguished at 11.30am by the personnel and representatives of the fire services who are on the territory of the plant. 

‘The damage control system worked quickly, there was no damage.’

The Admiral Kuznetsov is set to be relaunched after renovations in 2024 after undergoing major repair work.

In 2019, a huge fire broke out on the vessel in the same Murmansk dock which saw 11 people injured (pictured)

In 2019, a huge fire broke out on the vessel in the same Murmansk dock which saw 11 people injured (pictured)

The blaze erupted during welding work and spread quickly through the carrier's internal compartments

The blaze erupted during welding work and spread quickly through the carrier’s internal compartments

The vessel has been plagued by breakdowns and setbacks since its launch in 1985. 

In December 2019, a fire broke out on board which left 11 people injured and severely damaged the ship. 

The blaze erupted during welding work and spread quickly through the carrier’s internal compartments.

That fire followed a 70-ton crane crashing on to the Admiral Kuznetsov’s deck in October 2018 when a mammoth floating dock holding the ship sank.

The crane left a hole of 215 square feet, and the loss of the dock significantly slowed down repairs on the carrier since the navy lacked another of comparable size.

Today’s fire will further push back the work to fit the ship with modern control systems and new weapons. 

The aircraft carrier had been undergoing repairs for more than five years in Murmansk. 

The Admiral Kuznetsov (pictured) had been undergoing repairs for more than five years in Murmansk and suffered previous damage in October 2018

The Admiral Kuznetsov (pictured) had been undergoing repairs for more than five years in Murmansk and suffered previous damage in October 2018

The repairs were expected to be completed by the end of 2020, with the warship rejoining the navy in 2021. 

With its turbines belching black smoke, the Admiral Kuznetsov looks outdated compared with the nuclear-powered carriers of the United States.

However, the Kremlin has used it to project military might far from Russia’s shores.

Five years ago, the Admiral Kuznetsov was deployed to the eastern Mediterranean as part of Russia’s campaign in Syria, launching the first carrier-mounted attacks in Russian naval history.

It lost two carrier-borne fighters in incidents during the Syria mission.

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