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Supreme Court Annulled Nerpa's Crew Acquittal

Supreme Court Annulled Nerpa's Crew Acquittal 04.05.2012
Text: RusNavy.com
Photo: militaryparitet.com
Russian Supreme Court's military collegium convened on May 3 in Moscow to consider cassation on the SSN Nerpa case. The collegium decided to annul acquittal delivered by Pacific Fleet (PF) Court Martial and expedited the case for reconsideration, an informed source told Central Navy Portal.

Earlier on, PF Military Procuracy disagreed with the acquittal delivered by PF Court Martial on Oct 14, 2011 towards commanding officer of nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) Nerpa Capt 1 rank Dmitry Lavrentiev and bilge engineer Petty Officer Dmitry Grobov.

According to the verdict, Lavrentiev was freed from charge of excess of duty power resulted in grievous consequences (Article 286/3, RF Criminal Code), and Grobov was also released from accusations of infliction of damage by negligence (Article 109/3, RF Criminal Code) and infliction of grievous harm to the health by negligence (Article 118/2, RF Criminal Code). PF Military Procuracy lodged a protest upon that acquittal on Oct 17.

Recall that Russia officially leased out SSN Nerpa to India in Jan 2012. The submarine was commissioned into Indian Navy on Apr 4, 2012 at naval base Vishakhapatnam under the name of INS Chakra. According to the contract, Nerpa will serve in Indian Navy for the next 10 years. Contract value exceeds $900 mln.

Due to elimination of accident consequences and revealing of latent defects, the submarine was handed over to Indian Navy with almost 3-year delay.

Tragedy happened to SSN Nerpa in the night of Nov 9, 2008. Onboard fire-smothering system was accidentally activated, and the off-grade oxygen-displacing extinguisher (mixture of freon and toxic carbon dichloride) began to enter two bow compartments. In total, there were 208 men onboard the sub, crewmembers and trial team. Twenty of them died as a result of the accident (including 17 civilian experts); 21 out of 38 intoxicated persons were hospitalized afterwards.

Initially, a charge was brought against Dmitry Grobov who allegedly "adjusted air temperature sensor in living compartment incorrectly" (causing death of two or more persons by negligence, up to 5 years imprisonment). Later on, PF Military Procuracy accused the submarine's commanding officer Dmitry Lavrentiev and ex-commander of 72-th Repaired Ship Brigade Sergei Zakharchenko of negligence. In May 2011, the court granted a motion of defense and handed over the criminal case to jury. Finally, the jury declared the servicemen not guilty.

The third-generation submarine K-152 Nerpa (Project 971I Schuka-B) was laid down at Amur Shipyard (Komsomolsk-on-Amur) in 1991. The construction was shut down in mid-90's due to lack of financing. Early in 2000's, representatives of Indian Navy displayed interest in the non-completed sub. When all appropriate agreements were signed, the sub's construction was resumed thanks to substantial Indian investments.

Displacement is 8,140/12,770 tons; length is over 110 meters; beam is about 14 meters; full submerged speed is over 30 knots; test depth is 600 meters; endurance is 100 days; crew is 73 men; armament is eight 533-mm torpedo tubes, combat load is 36 torpedoes and missiles.

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