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Russia's oldest warship to be refitted into museum

Russia's oldest warship to be refitted into museum 25.02.2011
Text: ForPost
Photo: Kommuna. sevastopol.su
A new museum may appear in Sevastopol this summer. The world's oldest submarine salvage catamaran Kommuna age mate of cruiser Avrora will be berthed at crowded embankment in Sevastopol; all cabins will be rehashed into display rooms. The refitting would take several months only. Reportedly, showpieces would not be military-related, and the museum will be devoted to the Black Sea explorations. UAH 1 mln investments has been already found, said the project's initiators from Institute of Archeology, Ukrainian Academy of Science.

The request to decommission the submarine salvage ship from the Black Sea Fleet was addressed to Vladimir Putin two weeks ago; a representative of Russian defense ministry recently called to the institute and said Russian leadership liked the idea. Various variants are being discussed, most probably that would be a Russian-Ukrainian project.

Catamaran Kommuna was designed in 1911 as a salvage ship for distressed submarines. One year later the ship began lifting bottomed Russian and British subs in the Baltic Sea. The ship had experienced two world wars but is still operable and sometimes takes part in exercises. Now Kommuna is based in Streletskaya Bay, Sevastopol. The ship's length is 81 meters; beam is 13.2 meters; displacement is 3,100 tons; crew is 23 (as of 2009).

It should be noted that the ship's hull is made of specially-designed ductile forging steel; unfortunately, the steel manufacturing secret has been lost. The hull made of famous Putilov's steel is almost in ideal conditions even at present; only structures installed in the ship much later turn into rust.

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