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Navy to Launch New Rescue Ship

The Navy will launch a new search-and-rescue ship Tuesday at the Admiralty Shipyards in St. Petersburg, the Defense Ministry said.

Among the guests at the launch of the Igor Belousov will be Navy commander Viktor Chirkov, St. Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko and United Shipbuilding Corporation president Andrei Dyachkov, the ministry's press service told Interfax.

Construction started on the Igor Belousov on Dec. 24, 2005, but has faced several delays. The ship will undergo about two years of open-water trials before entering the naval fleet in 2014, Interfax said.

Among the ship's equipment will be two deepwater submarines built by Scottish firm DIVEX, RIA-Novosti reported in May, citing the Defense Ministry. The ARS-600 two-seat submersibles are designed to assist submarines in distress and conduct other search-and-rescue operations.

The Navy currently uses British-built Panther Plus and Tiger submersibles, RIA-Novosti said.

The Igor Belousov has a displacement of 5,037 tons, a top speed of 15 knots and a range of 3,500 nautical miles, Interfax said. It will be operated by 96 sailors and can carry 120 additional people, including 60 in cabins.

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