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Shipyard Inspectors Blame Tomsk Crew For Fire

Inspectors from a shipyard in the Russian Far East blame the crew of the Tomsk nuclear submarine for a recent fire during repairs at their dock, a news report said.

The submarine had been undergoing repairs at the Zvezda shipyard in the town of Bolshoi Kamen, near Vladivistok, since 2008, before it caught fire last month.

A commission from Zvezda has ruled that the submarine's crew failed to ensure the safety of welding works, said an official familiar with the investigation. But investigators from state-run United Shipbuilding Corporation and its Far Eastern subsidiary are still to make a more authoritative decision, the unidentified official said, Kommersant reported.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has ordered the shipbuilding corporation to dismiss shipyard director Vladimir Averin over the incident, and the unidentified investigator said he expected the government commission to back up the decision.

"The Navy is likely to blame the shipyard… The top management of the industry also needs to blame Zvezda," the official said.

The Tomsk incident triggered memories of another submarine catching fire in 2000 when the nuclear-powered submarine Kursk sank in the Barents Sea, killing the 118 men on board.

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