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Massive Floating Dock Sinks, Damaging Russia’s Only Aircraft Carrier

Lev Fedoseyev / TASS

One of the largest floating docks in the world sank on Monday night while conducting maintenance work on the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier near Murmansk, damaging the ship and leading to at least four injuries. 

The Admiral Kuznetsov, which is Russia's only aircraft carrier, was built and launched by the Soviet Union in 1985. It has been undergoing repairs this year at a shipyard near Russia’s port city of Murmansk following combat operations in Syria, where it was blighted by problems and lost two aircraft due to malfunctions with the carrier's arresting gear.

During a planned transfer of the Admiral Kuznetsov to an overland repair plant late on Monday, the PD-50 floating dock to which the ship had been attached reportedly sank after its cisterns became overloaded with water due to a power outage. 

“Due to interruptions in the supply of electric power to the PD-50 floating dock, the dipping of the dock was irregular,” a dockyard spokesperson told Interfax.

“This caused the float tanks to become abnormally full, leading the dock to go underwater,” he added. 

The head of the United Shipbuilding Corporation, a company which had been carrying out the repairs, told the state-run TASS news agency that the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier had been damaged in the accident.

“An overhead crane fell on the deck from a height of 15 meters, so it’s obvious that the hull and the deck were damaged,” he said, before adding that no “critically important” part of the ship had been damaged.

The governor of the Murmansk region, Marina Kovtun, said on Tuesday morning that one person was missing after the accident.

“Two people were treated on the spot. Two people are still in hospital. Unfortunately, one person has not yet been found,” she said in a video posted on her Instagram page.

Earlier, TASS reported that four people injured in the incident were being treated for hypothermia.

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