Russia’s only aircraft carrier damaged as floating dock sinks

Four people were injured and one person is missing after the accident involving the Admiral Kuznetsov at the PD-50 floating dock. (AFP)
Updated 30 October 2018
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Russia’s only aircraft carrier damaged as floating dock sinks

  • Four people were injured and one person is missing after the accident involving the Admiral Kuznetsov
  • The Admiral Kuznetsov is undergoing its first major repairs since 1997

MOSCOW: Russia’s only aircraft carrier was damaged and a giant floating dock sank after a crane crashed onto the vessel as it was undergoing repairs near the Arctic city of Murmansk on Tuesday.
Four people were injured and one person was missing after the accident involving the Admiral Kuznetsov at the PD-50 floating dock, the largest in Russia and one of the largest in the world, local authorities and media said.
“We are assessing the extent of the damage. A crane fell onto the deck from a height of about 15 meters (45 feet),” the head of Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation Alexei Rakhmanov told the TASS news agency.
“It is clear there is damage to the hull and the deck. Fortunately, it happened on those parts that are not vital” to the work of the ship.
Local media said the floating dock being used to repair the vessel had sunk.
The accident occurred at 3:30 am (midnight GMT) at the repair shipyard near Murmansk, the governor of Murmansk region Marina Kovtun said in a video she posted on social media.
“Unfortunately, one person is still not found,” she said.
In a second video, Kovtun said one of the hospitalized workers was in a serious condition and that “doctors are fighting for his life.”
“Four workers were removed from the water with signs of frostbite and taken to a medical facility,” the regional branch of Russia’s Investigative Committee said in a statement on its website.
It added that the accident could be the result of “violations in the operation” of the ship repair facilities.
Rakhmanov later said the incident was caused by a sudden power cut which meant the dock did not function normally.
“During the exiting (of the ship) from the dock, the ballasting system did not work properly. This was due, as our colleagues say, to a sudden power cut from the shore,” he told TV channel Zvezda.
But in a statement on its website, Russian state power company Rosseti said “the networks supplying the shipyard worked in normal mode.”
The Admiral Kuznetsov is undergoing its first major repairs since 1997. They are expected to be completed by the end of 2020 for the warship to rejoin the Russian Navy in 2021.
The vessel was deployed to the Mediterranean in 2016 and early 2017 to strike targets in Syria and help Moscow ally President Bashar Assad recapture rebel-held areas in the war-torn country.
International media noted that the ship was belching clouds of black smoke as it sailed toward Syria via the English Channel in October 2016.


Philippine president wants to end anti-drug war in three years

Updated 21 March 2019
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Philippine president wants to end anti-drug war in three years

  • Philippines being investigated for extrajudicial killings
  • Anti-drug campaign signature policy of president

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday he wanted to finish his war on drugs in three years, defying an international probe into his controversial and deadly campaign to rid the country of narcotics.
Duterte, who came to power in 2016, has made a ‘war on drugs’ the hallmark of his administration. 
But it has been reported that 20,000 people have been killed in what rights groups call a wave of “state-sanctioned violence.”
The firebrand president remains unfazed by the condemnation, and the cases filed against him by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over his crackdown.
He insisted he would assume full responsibility for any consequences due to his decision to enforce the law, telling a military audience his goals.
“I’d like to finish this war, both (with the) Abu Sayyaf (a militant group) and also the communists, and the drug problem in about three years … we'd be able (to) ... reduce the activities of the illegal trade and fighting to the barest minimum.
“I’m not saying I am the only one capable (of achieving these goals) ... I assume full responsibility for all that would happen as a consequence of enforcing the law — whether against the criminals, the drug traffickers or the rebels who’d want to destroy government.”
Earlier this month, the Philippines withdrew from the ICC, citing the global body's interference in how the country was run as the reason.
On Tuesday, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that investigations into alleged extrajudicial killings in the Philippines would continue despite its exit.
But the government has said it will not cooperate with the ICC, and has even warned its personnel about entering the country for the investigation.
There are Filipinos who support Duterte’s campaign, however, and believe it works. Among them is former policeman Eric Advincula.
He said there had been an improvement in the situation since Duterte came to power. 
“For one, the peace and order situation has improved, like for example in villages near our place where there used to be rampant drug peddling,” he told Arab News. 
“The price of illegal drugs is now higher, an indication that the supply also went down. Also, it was easy to catch drug peddlers before because they were doing their trade openly. But now they are more careful, you can't easily locate them.”
Official data from the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in February indicated that 5,176 ‘drug personalities’ were killed in the anti-drugs war between July 1, 2016 to Jan. 31, 2019.
More than 170,000 drug suspects have been arrested during a total of 119,841 anti-narcotics operations in the last two and a half years.