Sub-Ramming Captain Denies Charges

The captain of a fishing boat that accidentally rammed a nuclear submarine off the coast of Kamchatka contradicted the Navy's version of events on Tuesday, saying his crew was sober and the submarine's navigation lights were turned off.

The Navy said the Donets rammed the Svyatoi Georgy Pobedonosets last week despite flare and radio warnings from the submarine's crew because the trawler's captain was not at the helm and the crew was drunk.

But Donets captain Kazemir Gaidamovich told Gazeta.ru that quick thinking was the only thing that saved his ship from running head on into a "dark, unlit object" that was the submarine, moored with lights off in violation of naval rules.

The submarine's crew fired flares only after he had thrown the Donets into reverse, Gaidamovich said.

He also dismissed allegations that the trawler tried to flee, and insisted he and his crew were not drunk during the incident.

"Only later, after we had anchored, did we blow off some steam," he said.

A check is ongoing.

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