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Massive Icebreaker Catches Fire in St. Petersburg, 2 Injured

The Viktor Chernomyrdin icebreaker / Roman Pimenov / Interpress / TASS

A fire aboard an icebreaker under construction in St. Petersburg has reportedly injured two people in the latest incident believed to be caused by safety violations at a Russian shipyard.

The Viktor Chernomyrdin ship, which has been under construction since 2012, had been touted as the world’s largest diesel-powered icebreaker. Already behind schedule, the $164.6 million vessel was set to be delivered later this year. Late last month, Russia’s only aircraft carrier was damaged when one of the largest floating docks in the world sank while conducting maintenance work on it near the northern port city of Murmansk.

A fire broke out late on Tuesday on board the Viktor Chernomyrdin icebreaker, Russian media reported, citing the Admiralty Shipyards in St. Petersburg.

One of the victims of the fire is reportedly in intensive care in critical condition, the state-run TASS news agency reported. The second victim was said to be examined by doctors on site and discharged.

Russia’s Investigative Committee said it opened a case into safety violations, a criminal offense punishable by up to three years behind bars.

The Russian crime-fighting agency estimated the damage at 1.5 million rubles ($22,500).

The shipyard was later quoted as saying that the fire will not affect the Viktor Chernomyrdin’s construction deadline.

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