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Real Dead Body from Training Ship

Real Dead Body from Training Ship 06.08.2012
Text: RusNavy.com
Photo: Training ship Perekop. RusNavy.com
Circumstances of the incident happened on July 31 to training ship Perekop registered in Leningrad Naval Base are still murky. Although official version of the tragedy looks quite believable, there are plenty of questions remained open. The answers would be unlikely given before investigation held by 459-th military investigative department of Russian Investigative Committee is over. Trying to puzzle out the situation even now, reporter of Central Navy Portal visited the incident site and interviewed people living and serving in Kronshtadt.

So, according to official theory, the incident with explosion of a 30-mm shell (gun mount AK-230) occurred at noon of July 31 at naval test range in eastern part of the Gulf of Finland. Training ship Perekop was heading for the test range to hold qualification drill. Five sailors – three conscripted and two contracted ones – during practice alert came on the boat deck to take pictures for discharge albums and incidentally came under fire of shipboard gun mount. All of them were injured by fragments of a shell hit the deck erection (according to updated information, portside boat davit). The ship discontinued the firing drill. To deliver sufferers to a hospital faster, the base promptly dispatched a boat (counter-terror craft P-104 Grachonok). The boat brought the wounded servicemen to Kronshtadt quay; they were picked by emergency cars and delivered to the Kronshtadt branch of 442-nd District Military Clinical Hospital.

All five sailors were chopped by fragments of the exploded shell. Nikita Mitrofanov, a young sailor conscripted in the spring, was less lucky than others. His wound to the head was fatal, and the 20-year old man died. The rest sufferers were transferred fr om the Kronshtadt hospital to St. Petersburg, to field surgery department of the Military Medical Academy. According to official authorities, state of the sailors is stable. Out of four, only two got penetrating injuries, one got tangential wound of hip. Unfortunately, Central Navy Portal could not get more detailed information about state of hospitalized sailors brought fr om Perekop.

So what remained unclear? First of all, there are numerous questions concerning management of the firing drill and readiness of the ship in general. How come that during alarm at gun firing drill a group of sailors deserted their positions and got on the deck to take pictures? Who let them go there? And what about firing drill directors, specially appointed officers, warrant officers, and petty officers who must have given signal "Taps!" instantly reporting to main control station when non-authorized persons appear? What happened to gunner's eyes? How come the ship's gun hit own portside boat davit instead of a floating dummy mine? Doesn't it have fire sector lim iters to prevent perforation of own erection and boat davits? Why safety control was arranged so negligently?

There is a supposition that the gun mount went off the lim iters, the last shell hit the boat davit and its fragments injured nosy photographers. So, the incident was caused by hardware failure which by no means excuses personal misconduct of the sailors.

Investigators are looking for answers for those questions and initiated a criminal case based on Article 349/2, Russian Criminal Code (violation of arms handling rules led to death by negligence). So far, the suspect is the ship's commanding officer Capt 2 Rank Sergei Bor who has excellent service record being one of the most experienced COs in Leningrad Naval Base. Having failed to stand the stress, he was delivered to hospital with hypertensive crisis.

To this we can add that because of lack of official statements, there were lots of wild rumors around Kronshtadt. According to one of them, training ship Perekop did tot take the sea for firing drill on July 31 at all. The incident allegedly happened to the moored ship, the sailors somehow managed to extract one or several shells from the gun mount's magazine and took them in hands to take pictures. Accidentally, one shell fell down, knocked against the deck and exploded. Somewhat 30 grams of explosive were enough to wound five men. However, although this version is not proved, the fact that the notorious firing drill was scheduled on Aug 1 but not July 31 obviously counts in favor of this theory.


Perekop is the second out of three training ships built in Poland for Soviet Navy in mid 70's. Naval ensign was hoisted in 1977.

Full displacement – 7,256 tons
Dimensions: length – 138 meters, beam – 17.2 meters, draft – 5.5 meters
Full speed – 20 knots
Cruising range at 14 knots – about 9,000 miles
Endurance – 40 days
Propulsion: 2 x 8,000-shp diesels Zgoda Sulzer 12ZV40/48; 4 x 800-kW diesel generators; 1 x 111-kW diesel generator
Armament: 2 coupled 76-mm gun mounts AK-726 (combat load 1,200 shells) with fire control system MR-105 Turel; 2 coupled 30-mm gun mounts AK-230 (combat load 4,000 shells) with fire control system MR-104 Rys; 2 ASW rocket launchers RBU-2500 Smerch (combat load 128 rocket thrown depth charges RGB-25); 2 45-mm saluting guns 21KM
Radioelectronics: general-purpose radar MR-310 Angara; 2 navigation radars Don; sonar MG-312I, MG-311, sound comm sonar MG-15 Sviyaga
Crew – about 140 men including 12 officers and 10 warrant officers; for training needs, the ship takes 330 cadets on board

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