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Ex-Northern Fleet Captain Sues Russian Minister of Defence

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posted on Jul, 5 2005 @ 07:41 PM

The Russian Captain who was in charge of the towing operation of the submarine K-159, Sergey Zhemchuzhnov, will sue the Russian Minister of Defence. K-159 sank during this towing operation and 9 of its 10 crewmembers drowned. The court case against Sergey Zhemchuzhnov was officially closed in March this year. The reason he goes to court now is because he wants to clean his name and reputation.

BarentsObserver: Ex-Northern Fleet captain sues Russian minister of defence

Sergey Zhemchuzhnov, the Northern Fleet captain who headed the fatal towing operation of the K-159 submarine in August 2003, intends to sue Russian Minister of Defence Sergey Ivanov. Zhemchuzhinov was convicted by the Russian Military Prosecutor's office for having neglected sailing regulations resulting in the sinking of K-159 and the drowning of several sailors. Now, the captain intends to fight back against the Navy commanders and the Defence Ministry in a court case.

The court case against Sergey Zhemchuzhnov has dragged out, and in March this year the case was officially ended. Zhemchuzhnov now intends to clean his name and reputation in court. He stresses however that he is no longer interested in his job as submarine captain.

Click the link to read the full article from Barents Observer...

WikiPedia: K-159

On 28 August 2003, K-159 and her pontoons were manned by ten Russian sailors and taken under tow to Polyarny. That crew kept the pontoons pressurized and the submarine hull pumped out, but during the early morning hours of 30 August they encountered a squall that ripped away from some of the pontoons. K-159 did not sink immediately, but was clearly in distress. Northern Fleet was notified at 0120, and Admiral Suchkov arrived at headquarters 20 minutes later. Suchkov made no attempt to rescue the submarine crew. By 0300 the wreck had sunk in the Barents Sea, 238 meters down, with nine of her crew and 800 kilograms of spent nuclear fuel containing some 20 petabecquerels (600 kilocuries) of radioactivity.

The Military Prosecutor General's office brought charges against Captain Second Class Sergei Zhemchuzhnov who was overseeing the towing operation. President of Russia Vladimir Putin removed Suchkov from service on the recommendation of Navy Chief of Staff Vladimir Kuroyedov.

Click the link to read the full WikiPedia entry...

Photo: K-159s last crew - click to enlarge - (c) BELLONA

Related News Sources:
Bellona: Ex-Northern Fleet captain sues Russian minister of defence
BBC: Russian submarine sinks in Arctic

posted on Sep, 12 2005 @ 08:16 AM
The K-159 remains at the bottom of the Barents sea after she sank August 30th 2003. K-159`s reactors has been shut down since 1989 and this increases the risk for seawater crushing into the reactor. 800 kilograms of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel may already be leaking out while the Russian authorities does nothing about it. The main reason nothing is done seems to be lack of funding.

Bellona: Two years after the K-159 tragedy: the submarine remains at the bottom

Despite promises of Russian Navy brass to lift the K-159 submarine, which sank on August 30th 2003 killing nine of its 10 crew members while being towed for dismantlement, the derelict vessel still remains at the bottom of the Barents sea with 800 kilograms of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel in its reactors.

Though the aged multi-purpose submarine―which was retired in 1989 and sank once while moored at the Gremikha naval base―has shown as yet no signs of contaminating the fishing-based economy of Kildin Island where it went down, the 240 meter depth were is lies means the two reactor cores will start leaking from water pressure eventually, if it has not already.

“The K-159 sank at the depth of 240 meters, and it can be called the most dangerous object at the bottom of the Arctic seas."

The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA), supervising the situation in the Barents Sea, does not have any information about possible salvage operation for the K-159. “We are not being informed about any plans of lifting the submarine. We have repeatedly asked Russian authorities about it―the last time was in June―and they replied there were no plans of lifting the submarine yet,” Ingar Amundsen, senior adviser for NRPA, told Bellona Web.

“Based on experience garnered from previous sunken nuclear submarines, like the Komsomolets in 1987, the contamination will first happen―and is possibly already happening―locally,” Bellona’s Nikitin said. In a longer-term scenario, the contamination could migrate further into the Barents Sea. This migration would particularly concern “hot particles” that are created as a result of any electrochemical process that may take place in the reactor. Such “hot particles” are small metal particles and are heavily contaminated with alpha-emitters. Plutonium is one example.

The fact that the K-159’s reactors had been shut down since 1989 means that there is very little heat production left in the reactor cores. The lack of heating means that there is no longer an elevated pressure inside the reactor tank that would help keep corrosive seawater out. Compounding radiation hazards is the water pressure at the depth of 240 metres, at which the K-159 lies, that will further increase the risk for seawater crushing into the reactor compartments and getting into the reactor. “This is why we absolutely can not understand the inactivity of the Russian authorities concerning K-159,” says Nikitin.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

posted on Apr, 23 2006 @ 06:41 AM
The K-159 is still lying there with its 800 kilograms of radioactive spent nuclear fuel. I wonder if the Russians have any intentions at all of cleaning this up. I guess it's "too expensive" for them. The fish in that area are probably so radioactive it should not be eaten. No wonder they have found so much radioactivity in whales... they eat a huge amount of fish.

posted on Feb, 17 2007 @ 10:35 PM
The widows of the K-159 crew won't get compensation.

MosNews: Widows of Russian Submariners Lose Compensation Suit Against Defense Ministry


A Moscow court on Friday rejected a suit by four widows for damages from Russia’s Ministry of Defense over the deaths of their sailor husbands when their submarine sank in 2003.

The four had demanded that the ministry pay each of them 1 million roubles ($38,120) for “moral damage” on the grounds that it failed to assure the safety of the nine servicemen killed. The court is due to explain its decision next week.


Naval officials said the disaster could have been avoided if all officers had followed orders.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

posted on Oct, 17 2013 @ 02:01 PM
A film that was recorded way back in 2007 has been leaked to the public. Apparently, K-159 is leaking radioactivity...

Sunken nuclear sub allegedly leaking radioactivity

October 17, 2013

A Moscow-based anonymous military informant provided the film to the reporters saying it was recorded during the Russian-British expedition to the sunken submarine back in 2007. The source further claims worrying increased levels of radioactivity are measured leaking from the hull of the wreaked submarine. Nothing is said about the levels of radioactivity.

The film shows a large hole in the bow of the submarine; open door to the sail; cables are visible through holes and the submarines outer hull is very rusty. The film also shows how an ROW takes measurements of radioactivity through the air-pressure holes on the deck of K-159. A lot of fish is swimming around the wreaked submarine. The Barents Sea is one of the most productive marine biological oceans in the world.

“If the information about leakages of radioactivity from K-159 is correct, it is of most importance that this information is made publicly available. It must be prepared a risk assessment plan for possible lifting of K-159. Russian authorities must also find financial means to an eventual lifting,” says Nils Bøhmer.

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