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.


Pompeo pledges close cooperation with India but trade, defense issues unresolved

Updated 26 June 2019
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Pompeo pledges close cooperation with India but trade, defense issues unresolved

  • But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave few specifics of how they would overcome disputes on issues
  • The disputes have led to higher trade tariffs by the two countries and created unease over the depth of their security alliance

NEW DELHI: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought to reduce heightened trade tension with India on Wednesday, promising a renewed focus on negotiating improved trade and investment ties between the two nations.
But Pompeo, on a visit to India, gave few specifics of how they would overcome disputes on issues ranging from access to Indian markets for leading American companies to New Delhi’s demands for foreign firms to store Indian data in the country, and exports of steel and aluminum to the United States.
The two nations are “friends who can help each other all around the world,” Pompeo told a joint news conference with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar after they met.
The current differences were expressed “in the spirit of friendship,” he added.
The disputes have led to higher trade tariffs by the two countries and created unease over the depth of their security alliance.
In particular, the sudden introduction of new e-commerce rules for foreign investors in February angered the Americans because it showed New Delhi was prepared to move the goalposts to hurt two of the largest US companies, discount retailer Walmart, and Amazon.com Inc.
Walmart last year invested $16 billion to buy control of Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart.
Just days before Pompeo’s visit, India slapped higher retaliatory tariffs on 28 US products following Washington’s withdrawal of key trade privileges for New Delhi.
Jaishankar, a former Indian ambassador to the United States, played down the spat on Wednesday.
“If you trade with someone and they are your biggest trading partner, it is impossible you don’t have trade issues,” he said.
India’s ties with Russia and Iran, both now subject to US sanctions, are also a sore point.
US pressure has led India to stop buying oil from Iran, a top energy supplier. The United States has also stepped up pressure on India not to proceed with its purchase of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia.
The missile deal and Iranian oil were both discussed during their meeting, Jaishankar and Pompeo said, but mentioned no resolution of either at the news conference.
Earlier, Pompeo met Prime Minister Narendra Modi for talks at his official residence in the capital, New Delhi, and they exchanged handshakes in images broadcast on television.
“The Prime Minister expressed his strong commitment to achieve the full potential of bilateral relations in trade and economy, energy, defense, counterterrorism and people-to-people contacts,” the foreign ministry said in a statement, without elaborating.
Pompeo is expected to round off the trip with a policy speech hosted by the US embassy, before departing on Thursday for a summit of leaders of the Group of 20 nations in Japan.