Video: Russia Denies Reports of Fire on Kilo-Class Sub
This week, video of what appears to be a fire at a Russian submarine base surfaced on social media. The footage appears to show a blaze on the surface of the water adjacent to two submarines at the port of Vladivostok, with white smoke or vapor emanating from one of the submarines itself.
Western analysts identified the vessels in the video footage as Russian Kilo-class diesel electric submarines, and suggested that the fire could stem from a problem with a diesel generator, a battery accident or sparks from welding or other hot work.
Russian state-owned news outlet TASS reported that the blaze was a drill. The outlet said that the "exercises to extinguish a fire on the pier" used by Pacific Fleet submarines went as planned, and the personnel involved eliminated the fire within six minutes. The Ministry of Emergency Situations for Vladivostok and the surrounding area said that its emergency response personnel were not involved in putting out the fire.
If the blaze was an accident on a Kilo-class submarine, it would not be the first in recent years. The Indian Navy has suffered fires on two of its Kilo-class subs, including the deadly blaze on the INS Sindhurakshak in 2013, which sank the vessel and killed 18 sailors. A battery fire on the INS Sidhuratna the following year killed two officers and injured seven sailors.
It would not be the only fire aboard a Russian Navy sub in recent years, either: in April 2015, the Oscar II-class nuclear submarine Orel suffered damage during a shipyard period when welding caught its rubber anti-noise insulation on fire. Eight fire brigades participated in the response, and it was eventually extinguished by flooding the drydock. Russian outlet Pravda noted that it was "not an emergency situation" and that such things "frequently occur during hot works." Orel has since been repaired, modernized and returned to service, and is based at Zapadnaya Litsa, near Murmansk.