Two die in icebreaker fire

15 December 2011

A fire aboard a Russian nuclear icebreaker has claimed two lives but did not damage the ship's reactor, which continues to operate normally.


Vaigach (Rosatomflot)
The fire broke out at about midnight on 14 November, in a residential cabin structure situated towards the front of the icebreaker Vaigach. It was extinguished by 2.35 am but not before causing the deaths of 32-year-old machinist Pavel Bazhukov, and 55-year-old ship instrumentation and control foreman Valery Morozov. Technician Alexander Shevchenko sustained burns to his upper respiratory tract and had to be airlifted to a medical facility in the port of Dudinka 150 kilometres away.


At the time of the fire, the ship was in the Yenisei bay on its way to the Kara Strait. It had departed from Dudinka and was breaking the way for the freight carrier Kapitan Danilkin along the Yenisei river that runs north through Siberia.


Vaigach's owner Rosatomflot has already announced its intention to pay compensation of at least RUB 1 million ($31,000) to families of the each deceased crewmember. The cause of the accident will now be fully investigated. Rosatom noted that at this stage the possibility of human error has not been ruled out.


Researched and written

by World Nuclear News