Fire on Russian aircraft carrier undergoing $1billion refit is finally under control after claiming at least one sailor’s life

  • The Admiral Kuznetsov caught fire Thursday while in dock at Murmansk port
  • Ten people are being treated while Captain Viktor Izmailov is ‘unaccounted for’
  • Blaze broke out during welding works on the power section of the vessel

A fire on a Russian aircraft carrier undergoing a $1billion refit has finally been brought under control after it claimed at least one sailor’s life.

Ten people are being treated for smoke inhalation after Thursday’s blaze on the Admiral Kuznetsov in the Arctic port of Murmansk.

Captain Viktor Izmailov – who was in charge of the welding works which triggered the fire – remains ‘unaccounted for.’ 

The fire spread rapidly through the ship’s internal compartments and it took emergency crews all day to extinguish it.  

Ten people are being treated for smoke inhalation after Thursday’s blaze (pictured) on the Admiral Kuznetsov in the Arctic port of Murmansk

Thick black smoke pours from the upper desk of the Admiral Kuznetsov after it set on fire while undergoing repair work at Murmansk port, Russia

Russian daily Kommersant reported today that the fire started when hot metal fell down a shaft and came into contact with a pile of garbage lying on a lower deck, which included a piece of oily cloth.

The fire alarm on the ship had been dismantled during the refit, which was why the fire had a chance to spread, the newspaper said, quoting its sources.

A probe has been launched into possible construction safety violations.

Kommersant said damage from the fire was mostly to cables which were to be replaced in the refit.

The work on the ship, with a reported cost of about £750million, was contracted following the carrier’s deployment as head of a naval group off the Syrian coast. 

Smoke streaming from the hull of the aircraft carrier during the inferno on Thursday

Eleven people were reported to be injured in the blaze, with 10 of them in hospital in intensive care units

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

The massive blaze follows 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.

The 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 two years in Murmansk. 

More than 400 people were said to be on board the aircraft carrier when the fire erupted

The Admiral Kuznetsov (pictured) had been undergoing repairs for more than two 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. 

More than 400 people were on board when the fire began, state news agency TASS reported. 

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.

Two 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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