On Tuesday, in the Kola Bay, the floating dock PD-50 was drowned, which was used to repair the aircraft-carrying cruiser of the Russian Navy, Admiral Kuznetsov. According to the preliminary version, the cause of the accident was interruptions in the supply of electricity to the PD-50, which is why the dock became uncontrolled to sink to the bottom. Four people were injured, one was missing. In addition, the left-sided tower crane PD-50 fell on the exposed part of the Admiral Kuznetsov, causing damage to its equipment. Shipbuilders, however, promise to follow the schedule and hand over the cruiser of the Navy, as it should be, in 2021. Much more critical is the possible loss of PD-50 - the only waterborne located in the European part of Russia.
The accident at PD-50, owned by the 82nd ship repair yard (SRZ; the owner is Rosneft Oil Company), occurred on the night of October 30. By this time, the Admiral Kuznetsov was in the dock for about two weeks. During this time, the specialists of the Zvezdochka ship repair center (part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation; USK) opened the deck for routine maintenance dock works, and after they began, they began to prepare the cruiser for mooring to the berth of the 35th shipyard (branch of Zvezdochka). According to “Kommersant”, the 82nd SRH was a subcontractor under the contract “to restore technical readiness and perform work on a separate modernization” of the flagship of the Northern Fleet, signed by the USC with the Ministry of Defense last spring. Specialists from USC were responsible for work on the ship, and for the work of the dock - the 82nd plant.
PD-50 was built by order of the USSR Navy at the Gotaverken Arendal shipyard (the city of Arendal, Vestra-Getaland, Sweden) under production number 910 in the second half of the 1970s. Transferred to the customer in 1980, operated by the Northern Fleet. The float is designed to repair large surface ships, strategic nuclear submarines and transport ships with a displacement of over 25 thousand tons. Length - 330 m, width - 88 m, full displacement - over 215 thousand tons.
Problems with PD-50 arose around 23:56. At that moment, a report was received from the dispatcher of the 112 system on the emergency situation at the 82nd plant to the control panel of the government of the Murmansk region. As eyewitnesses say, the float together with the cruiser in it suddenly began to lurch onto the port side. Soon the dock wall plunged into the water by about a quarter, such an unnatural situation created an excessive load on the fastenings of the two floating crane tower cranes (each with a lifting capacity of 50 tons). Soon the left crane fell on the deck of the “Admiral Kuznetsov”, hitting mostly in the hole cut by the workers. After that, it was decided to withdraw the cruiser from the sinking dock. This operation was successful. The float, in turn, continued to dive and disappeared completely under water at about half past three. Later, divers found it at a depth of about 30 m. The cruiser itself, as shipbuilders believe, did not receive any significant damage affecting the repair time (the Navy planned to receive it in 2021). To verify this, they will inspect the ship in detail. In the Ministry of Industry and Trade “Kommersant” reported that the “Admiral Kuznetsov” received minor damage to hull structures above the waterline, which did not affect the survivability of the ship: “His unsinkability was ensured.” As a result of the emergency, four specialists of the 82nd SRH received injuries of varying severity, and one was reported missing at the time the number was printed.
Representatives of Zvezdochka believe that the cause of emergency could be a sudden power outage that arrived at PD-50 electric generators from the shore. This version was immediately rejected in the Rosseti holding. They reported that an internal audit, conducted after the emergency, "did not reveal any power outages at the plant" and "the networks that power the substation of the plant worked in normal mode." The North-West Investigation Department for Transport of the TFR upon the incident of state of emergency opened a criminal case under Part 2 of Art. 216 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (violation of safety rules in the conduct of mining, construction and other works) - investigators will have to assess the degree of guilt of officials.
According to two managers of enterprises in the shipbuilding industry, the most likely cause of an emergency could be the abnormal operation of cables through which power was supplied from the shore to four PD-50 electric generators providing the operation of ballast pumps. The latter either fill the compartments with seawater (for immersion of the floating dock), or pump it out (for surfacing). The cable could burn out or be mechanically damaged, such as a gap, says one of the Kommersant interlocutors: “Because of this, the operation of the pumps was disrupted, which led to an uncontrolled dive of one of the dock towers.” The accident could have been avoided, a source “Kommersant”, close to the leadership of the Ministry of Defense, is convinced. According to him, previously, the command of the Navy, in an orderly manner, forbade diving or ascending a floating dock at a "power from the shore", insisting on conducting operations solely with the help of four diesel generators installed on PD-50. But after the transition of the 82nd SRZ from the conduct of the military, this rule disappeared, the source told Kommersant: it is much easier to “drop the cable from the ground than to carry out time-consuming refueling.” In turn, the representative of the 82nd SRH called “Kommersant” not to make hasty conclusions about the causes and extent of the damage: “You must wait for the results of the work of the interdepartmental commission to determine the causes of the incident”. In it, we note, includes representatives of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Defense, USC and other industry organizations.
A possible loss of the PD-50 puts at risk the entire repair program for large-capacity ships and submarines. Alexey Rakhmanov, head of USC, partially acknowledged this on Tuesday: “This dock is used not only for Admiral Kuznetsov, but also for our other ships of the first and second ranks, so other repair work this year will be stopped.” He stated that the corporation would send an 82th SRH request about the possibility of restoring the dock. “First, it’s necessary to get an answer whether the dock’s performance will be restored,” Mr. Rakhmanov emphasized. “If the answer is no, we will start working on alternative options.” In the Ministry of Industry and Trade, “Kommersant” stated that “the decision to restore the floating dock will be made after its rise.” And this, taking into account the giant dimensions of the PD-50, can take months.
The situation is aggravated by the fact that PD-50, according to TASS, is the only ship repair facility in the European part of Russia of a technical fleet with a carrying capacity of about 80 thousand tons. In terms of its parameters, the large floating structure PD-41, which was built by the Japanese Ishikawajima Heavy Industries in 1978 and is now on the balance sheet of the 30th shipbuilding shipyard with a registry in the Danube. According to Interfax, the PD-50 could be compensated for by the dock PD-190 located in Novorossiysk and belonging to the Novorossiysk commercial seaport, but it is inferior to PD-50 in terms of carrying capacity (it is about 60 thousand tons). Yes, and tow it to Roslyakovo, according to experts, in the autumn-winter season is slow and dangerous.