High winds from Typhoon Maysak caused a floating dry dock to break free of its moorings at Russia’s Vostochny Verf shipyard in the country’s far eastern port city of Vladivostok. Once free, it drifted into a number of ships and submarines belonging to the Russian Navy’s Pacific Fleet, causing untold damage.
Maysak, which has been moving north for days now, passing over both Japan and the Korean Peninsula, where it had built up enough strength to produce gusts of wind in excess of 100 miles per hour, with the possibility that it could still become more powerful. It’s not clear exactly how strong the storm’s winds were when it reached Vladivostok.
Video footage and pictures of the incident so far show that the floating dry dock did not have any ship or submarine inside it at the time. It still presents a major hazard and has reportedly already smacked into various ships and submarines.
The imagery that has emerged on social media so far shows a particularly dramatic collision between it and a cluster of moored Project 1241.1 Molniya class missile corvettes. These ships each displace just under 550 tons with a full load and can carry up to 16 Kh-35 Uran anti-ship cruise missiles as their primary armament. The Russian Navy’s Pacific Fleet has around 11 of these ships.
A Kilo class attack submarine was also reportedly struck as the dock went floating along. The Russian Pacific fleet has six of these boats.
The extent the damage remains unclear, but this is just the latest in a string of calamities to befall the Russian Navy in recent years. In 2018, a fire broke out on a Kilo class submarine in Vladivostok. Russia later claimed had just been an exercise, but this seems highly improbable and the exact circumstances surrounding that incident remain unclear.
Also in 2018, PD-50, the Russian Navy’s largest floating dry dock sunk at the 82nd Shipbuilding Plant at Roslyakovo near Murmansk after an apparent electrical malfunction that caused its ballast tanks to get stuck in the open position. Russia’s sole aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, was inside at the time, undergoing a major overhaul. A fire on Kuznetsov last year, which reportedly caused 350 million Rubles worth of damage, more than $4.6 million at the present rate exchange, further called into question when and if the ship will return to service.
Again in 2018, Russia’s future Project 22600 icebreaker Viktor Chernomyrdin caught fire while it was under construction at Admiralty Shipyard in St. Petersburg. Then, last year, the Russian Navy’s top-secret Losharik spy submarine also had a fire during training off the coast of northwestern Russia. That accident, which you can read about in more detail in these past War Zone pieces, killed 14 sailors.
On top of these naval incidents, Russia has seen a number of other major military accidents in recent years. These include the accidental explosion of an apparent nuclear-powered cruise missile prototype and a massive explosion and shockwave, followed by a huge fire, at an ammunition depot in the country’s Siberian region, both of which occurred last year.
We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.
Contact the author: Joe@thedrive.com
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