First bulk carrier makes its way through Northwest Passage

Nordic Orion is a Panama-registered bulk carrier (40,142 GRT) built by Oshima, Japan and launched in 2011 and operated by Nordic Bulk Carriers. Considered an “ice bulker” the Nordic Orion is 1A for summer/autumn operation in thin-to-medium first-year ice. The shorter direct route from Vancouver, Canada to Poli, Finland saves time & fuel… allowing the Nordic Orion to carry 25% more cargo.

Danish firm seeks to be first to bring bulk carrier through Northwest Passage

The Nordic Orion along the Northern Sea Route – north coast of Russia in this undated handout photo.

Earlier this month, the ice-strengthened bulk carrier Nordic Orion was loaded with coal at a Vancouver terminal. From there, it headed to Finland via the Northwest Passage, undertaking a voyage that could make it the first commercial bulk carrier to traverse the route since the SS Manhattan broke through in 1969.

The Northwest Passage sailing marks another milestone for Nordic Bulk Carriers, the Danish company that owns the ship and has staked its future on northern routes. But it is a bigger breakthrough for international trade and for the fabled waterway, which defied early explorers’ efforts to map its bays and channels and led many to an icy grave. Now, with its ice cover changing and receding and a bulk carrier poised to plow through it, the Northwest Passage stands to witness history again while potentially becoming a viable route for commercial traffic.

“I think this pretty much cements our position as a world-leading ice operator,” Christian Bonfils, managing director of Nordic Bulk, said Wednesday in a telephone interview from Denmark. “In four years, we have created history in two new shipping routes – we are a small company and that’s pretty special.”

Nordic Bulk became the first non-Russian company to sail the Northern Sea Route – which runs across the northern coast of Russia – when it shipped iron ore from northern Norway to China in 2010.

“For some routes, it [the Northwest Passage] can save up to 7,000 kilometres – and that’s not just a distance savings, that’s a savings in terms of fuel, time and salaries,” Michael Byers, an international law expert at the University of British Columbia, said on Wednesday. “Time is money in the international shipping business and a 7,000-kilometre shortcut is of great interest.”

Transport Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard are monitoring the journey and the Nordic Orion is required to check in daily with Nordreg, a Coast Guard agency, Transport Canada said. The ship is scheduled to arrive in Pori, Finland, in early October.

“If they are complying with Nordreg, this is good for Canada’s legal position,” Prof. Byers said. “This is an example of an international shipping company accepting the obligation to register with Canada – essentially recognizing Canada’s jurisdiction over the Northwest Passage.”

Such compliance would be more significant if it involved an American ship, as Arctic disputes have involved Canada and the United States, not other countries, but it still sets a welcome precedent, he added.

Nordic Bulk complies with the rules of the country in which it is sailing, Mr. Bonfils said, adding that the 25-person crew includes a Canadian ice pilot with a couple of decades’ experience in the waterway.

When Nordic Bulk bid on the job to carry coal from Vancouver to Finland, it had the Northern Sea Route in mind. But with its customer’s blessing, Nordic Bulk scrapped that plan in favour of the Northwest Passage.

The fabled route has taken the lives of many explorers. But changes in ice cover attributed to climate change, as well as advances in ship design, have opened the prospect of commercial traffic.

The SS Manhattan, undertaken to test the viability of shipping oil from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico, was repeatedly trapped by ice and the U.S. turned away from the idea and instead built a pipeline.

The Nordic Orion is carrying B.C. metallurgical coal bound for Rautaruukki Corp., a Finnish steel company. Nordic Bulk beat other contenders for the job with a bid based on savings of about 1,000 nautical miles and four or five days of sailing time. Nordic Bulk was also able to carry more coal – a fully-loaded 73,000 tonnes – than the 60,000 tonnes or so that could pass through the shallower Panama Canal.

Insurance – once difficult to obtain for Arctic routes – has become more readily available as traffic on the Northern Sea Route has increased, Mr. Bonfils said.

In recent years, there has been considerable debate over whether commercial shipping would become a reality in the Northwest Passage, with Prof. Byers among those arguing such traffic was likely to arrive sooner rather than later.

Now proven correct, he worries Canada is short of search-and-rescue and other safety capabilities, including clean-up capacity in the event of a fuel spill or other accident..

“This is the kind of challenge that by all rights should necessitate hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars of fairly rapid investment by the government of Canada to ensure that vessels like this … if they come into the Canadian Arctic, they can do so in relative safety.“


http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/international-business/european-business/bulk-carrier-capitalizes-on-arctic-shortcut/article14405743/

Lieutenant General Sir James Dutton appointed Governor of Gibraltar

{cough} I called it back in July. {cough}

Gibraltar post for former Marine chief

Lieutenant General Sir James Dutton, leader of British forces in Afghanistan, will be new governor of disputed territory

Spain has ordered customs officers to go slow at the ­border with Gibraltar, causing delays lasting several hours. Photograph: Marcos Moreno/AFP/Getty Images

Britain is sending a former Royal Marine commander to be the Queen’s representative in Gibraltar amid continuing tensions between London and Madrid over the future of the overseas territory.

The Foreign Office announced on Thursday that Lieutenant General Sir James Dutton, who led British forces in Afghanistan, will be the new governor of the disputed territory. It said the move was planned “long ago, well in advance of any of the current difficulties we are experiencing”.

“I am delighted and honoured to be going to Gibraltar, especially given its historical connections with the Royal Marines,” he said.

“I hope that my many years of military experience combined now with three years of commercial experience will equip me well to deliver the governor’s role and responsibilities toward Gibraltar and the United Kingdom.”

Spanish fishermen have been protesting against an artificial reef, dumped by Gibraltar in disputed waters, which has prevented them dredging for scallops and other shellfish.

Spain ordered Spanish customs officers to go slow at the border, causing delays lasting several hours. Ministers in Madrid have also threatened to prevent Gibraltar-bound planes from entering Spain’s airspace and to investigate the tax arrangements of thousands of Gibraltarians with homes in Spain.

Gibraltar’s chief minister, Fabian Picardo, compared Spanish tactics to the behaviour of General Franco, North Korea and Argentina in the runup to the Falklands war.

The role of governor is largely ceremonial given that the 30,000-stong territory has its own elected government, but in an unusual intervention, Dutton’s predecessor, Sir Adrian Johns, last month accused Spain of a “serious violation of British sovereignty”.

Madrid sent divers to photograph the reef and placed Spanish flags on it in a move that was “unhelpful” when the UK was seeking to ease tensions, said Johns.

The decision to send the retired commandant general of the marines to the Rock comes after Francisco Javier Pérez Trigueros, the mayor of Callosa de Segura municipality in Valencia, circulated a collage of a formation of Spanish fighter jets trailing red and yellow smoke over Gibraltar and a battalion of saluting Spanish soldiers marching in formation with machine-guns towards the enclave on the southern tip of the Iberian peninsular.

Gibraltar has also accused Spain of breaching human rights rules by causing residents to queue for up to seven hours to cross the border and European Commission officials are to visit the border between Spain and Gibraltar next week to assess the legality of checks on traffic that have exacerbated the row with Britain.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/19/gibraltar-governor-marine-chief

Osprey lands on HMS Illustrious, Lynx lands on USS Kearsarge

US aircraft lands on British carrier… and British helo lands on US carrier.


130916-M-BS001-017 U.S. 5th FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY (Sept. 16, 2013) An MV-22B Osprey from the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 226 (Reinforced) lands on the flight deck of the HMS Illustrious (R06). Kearsarge is the flagship for the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU), is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Marine Corps photograph by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels/Released)

130916-M-SO289-021 U.S. 5th FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY (Sept. 16, 2013) A United Kingdom Army Air Corps Westland Lynx battlefield helicopter lands on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3). Kearsarge is the flagship for the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU), is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Christopher Q. Stone/Released)

130916-M-BS001-009 U.S. 5th FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY (Sept. 16, 2013) An MV-22B Osprey from the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 226 (Reinforced) lands on the flight deck of the HMS Illustrious (R06). Kearsarge is the flagship for the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU), is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels/Released)

130916-M-SO289-008 U.S. 5th FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY (Sept. 16, 2013) A United Kingdom Army Air Corps Westland Lynx battlefield helicopter lands on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3). Kearsarge is the flagship for the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU), is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Christopher Q. Stone/Released)

Artful the Monkey, official mascot of Artful the submarine

Animals that live, eat, sleep and crap in small enclosure? Yep… submariners 😉

HMS Artful is the second Astute-class submarine to be commissioned into Royal Navy service. Together with HMS Astute, lead boat of the class, she joins the RN’s five Trafalgar class submarines as part of the SSN fleet.

Artful goes nuts over submarine’s new mascot

The crew of Britain’s newest nuclear submarine – officially named today in Barrow today – unveiled the boat’s namesake mascot ahead of the milestone ceremony in the boat’s life.

Artful, a ten-month-old lemur monkey from South Lakes Wild Animal Park, has been adopted by the crew of the £1bn hunter-killer.

You can never have too many pictures of lemur monkeys holding the crest of the £1bn nuclear submarine for which they are named…

You can never have too many pictures of lemur monkeys holding the crest of the £1bn nuclear submarine for which they are named…

This is Artful the Monkey, official mascot of Artful the Submarine, which will be unveiled in a formal ceremony in Barrow tomorrow as the hunter-killer – the third of Britain’s seven Astute-class boats – nears completion.

Ahead of the big day in the boat’s life, a nine-strong team from Artful made the short trip to South Lakes Wild Animal Park to adopt the ten-month-old baby ring-tailed lemur.

Lt Arron Williams, Artful’s CO Cdr Scott Bower, AB Leon Stewart and a bunch of new friends

The inspiration for the adoption came from the submarine’s crest – although the creature on the boat’s historic symbol, chosen in 1945 by the Admiralty’s advisor on heraldry for the first Artful, is actually an unspecified species of primate.

“Having walked around the wildlife park with my wife last year, I remembered they had little monkeys and thought that adopting one as a mascot would be a good idea,” said 24-year-old Lt Aaron Williams from Bradford.

“We wanted to do something quirky to mark the naming ceremony.

“When I did a little research into the crest, I found out that it was chosen to represent the quality of artfulness, monkeys having the reputation of being clever and resourceful creatures.”

Sadly they had to let them out eventually… Some of the Artfuls in the spider monkey enclosure they spruced up

Meanwhile in the wildlife park’s spider monkey enclosure… Knot and rope skills were put to good use as the submariners spruced things up for its inhabitants.

“I love monkeys, but let’s hope they don’t complain about my decorating skills as much as my wife does!” said 33-year-old PO Lee Sinclair from Aberdeen.

As for Artful, well sadly the new mascot will be going nowhere near his boat (monkey + £1bn submarine, what could possibly go wrong?). Animals have been banned from Her Majesty’s ships since the 1970s for reasons of hygiene.

Which is a shame because the RN had a long and unusual history of mascots from the animal kingdom, from Simon the Cat which kept the vermin at bay on HMS Amethyst on the Yangtze; to Barbara the polar bear, rescued as a cub from drifting ice off Greenland and a ship’s mascot until growing too large and re-homed in Portsmouth; and Winnie, another monkey mascot who travelled with Great War torpedo boat HMS Velox.

“We won’t be able to get Artful on board, but the crew will still take an interest in him and no doubt a few of the guys and their families will be visiting the wildlife park in the future to see how he is doing,” said Lt Williams.

Alpha Lemur… The monkeys are excited by the presence of Lt Williams and the boat’s crest

As for the submarine, she’s been eight and half years in the making. The naming ceremony today is roughly the equivalent of launching a surface ship (there’s no slipway for submarines, which are inched out of the gigantic Devonshire Dock Hall at BAE’s Barrow yard), including smashing a bottle of champers against the hull in the age-old style.

Building on the extensive trials and tests of her older sisters Astute and Ambush, both of which are due to carry out their first operational patrols in a matter of months, Artful is due to enter service in 2015.

The only previous Artful, sister of HMS Alliance on display in Gosport at the RN Submarine Museum, served for over two decades from the late 1940s until the end of the 1960s, before being broken up.

https://navynews.co.uk/archive/news/item/8875

Babcock to upgrade Royal Navy’s “final four” Trafalgar class submarines

There are currently five Trafalgar-class submarines left in service with the Royal Navy: HMS Tireless (commissioned 1985, scheduled to decommission 2014), HMS Torbay (commissioned 1987), HMS Trenchant (commissioned 1989), HMS Talent (commissioned 1990) and HMS Triumph (commissioned 1991). Babcock will be conducting work on CCSM to reduce near-term obsolescence for the “final four” boats only.

Babcock to upgrade Royal Navy’s Trafalgar-class submarines’ CCSM system

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a contract to Babcock to design and develop the first phase of the communications coherency for submarines (CCSM) system’s obsolescence update in support of the UK Royal Navy’s Trafalgar-class nuclear-powered submarine.

Upgrades to the CCSM system will address near-term obsolescence issues while enhancing the system’s life over the operational service of the final four Trafalgar-class submarines.

The CCSM modernisation programme will be performed in two stages, with the first involving an update to the hardware and software handling the military signal messages, while the second phase will address the legacy communications equipment routing infrastructure.

Currently, Babcock is developing and seeking suitable hardware and software with the authority as part of the contract, while the design is expected to be finalised in September 2013.

Babcock integrated system and support group director, Charles John, said: “Babcock is responsible for CCSM in-service support and is pleased to provide a solution that overcomes the obsolescence issues while minimising the disruption to the office infrastructure due to the CCSM design.”

The CCSM system has been designed by Babcock to provide enhanced capability for submarines to manage existing and future levels of message traffic and information such as the efficient using and sharing of information, as part of joint or coalition task force.

Initially deployed on to the Trafalgar-class submarines in 2005, the system has integrated existing independent autonomous systems into a single commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) based system architecture.

The improved processes of the system also enable rapid technology integration for maximum efficiency and cost benefits.
Acceptance trials for the CCSM system update is expected to be carried out in the company’s purpose-built Communications Shore Integration Facility (CSIF) at Devonport, UK, in January 2014.

www.naval-technology.com/news/newsbabcock-upgrade-royal-navys-submarines-ccsm-system

Russia will turn over 35-year old aircraft carrier to India on 15 November

Laid down in for the Soviet Navy as Baku, renamed Admiral Gorskhov in the post-Soviet era, and rechristened (or should that be rehindued?) as the Vikramaditya when sold to the Indian Navy. When accepted into Indian service on 15 November, the hull will already be 35-years old.

INS Vikramaditya to be handed over to Navy on Nov 15

NEW DELHI: After a delay of around five years, aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya is now expected to be handed over to the Indian Navy on November 15 in Russia, where it is presently undergoing refit.

Vikramaditya, formerly known as Admiral Gorskhov, completed all its trials in the last two months in the Barents Sea and the White Sea after delays of around five years on several counts.

The carrier is on course to be handed over to the Indian Navy in November 15, Navy officials said today.

Once inducted, it will be the second aircraft carrier in the Navy after INS Viraat and give it an strategic advantage in the Indian Ocean.

Vikramaditya, which is already years past its original 2008 delivery date, was supposed to have been handed over on December 4, 2012, but sea trials in September that year revealed the ship’s boilers were not fully functional.

It then returned to the shipyard to fix the problems that were detected during the sea trials.

The ship had demonstrated excellent seaworthiness, speed of 27.9 knots (about 52 km per hour) and manoeuvrability during the three-month sea trials.

India and Russia had signed a USD 947 million deal for 45,000-tonne Gorshkov in 2004. The deal amount was revised later to USD 2.3 billion.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/ins-vikramaditya-to-be-handed-over-to-navy-on-nov-15/articleshow/22718865.cms

Russian border guards open fire on Greenpeace vessel

Further shenanigans in the Pechora Sea as the Russian border guard opens fire on the Greenpeave vessel ‘Arctic Sunrise.’ This comes on the heels of an earlier confrontation over offshore drilling in August.

Российские пограничники открыли огонь, чтобы остановить судно Гринпис

Пограничники были вынуждены четырежды выполнять предупредительную стрельбу из артиллерийской установки пограничного корабля, чтобы остановить судно Гринпис, сообщило ФСБ РФ.

© AFP 2013/ Stephan Agostini

МОСКВА, 18 сен — РИА Новости. Пограничники были вынуждены несколько раз открыть предупредительную стрельбу в Печорском море после попытки неизвестных проникнуть на нефтедобывающую платформу “Приразломная”, сообщило ФСБ РФ в среду.

Ранее экологическая организация сообщила, что активисты “Гринпис” устроили акцию протеста у “Приразломной” в Печорском море, двое из них арестованы, еще двое забрались на платформу. Читайте подробнее >>
© РИА Новости. Игорь Ермаченков
Ледокол Гринпис: вертолетная площадка, скоростные лодки и экотопливо

“В связи с реально сложившейся угрозой безопасности объекта нефтегазового комплекса РФ и неподчинением законным требованиям о прекращении незаконной деятельности сотрудниками пограничных органов была выполнена предупредительная стрельба из автомата АК-74 <…> В связи с отказом капитана судна “Арктик Санрайз” выполнить требования о прекращении противоправной деятельности, руководством <…> принято решение об остановке судна. Пограничники были вынуждены четырежды выполнять предупредительную стрельбу из артиллерийской установки пограничного корабля”, — говорится в сообщении.

Отмечается, что “на предупредительную стрельбу, сигналы об остановке судно не отреагировало” и мероприятия по остановке судна продолжаются.

ФСБ сообщило, что активисты пытались проникнуть на “Приразломную” при помощи “кошек” и веревок. Задержанных доставили на борт корабля “Ладога”.

По информации природоохранной организации, задержаны следующие активисты Гринпис: гражданка Финляндии Сини Саарела (Sini Saarela) и гражданин Швейцарии Марко Поло (Marco Polo).

Какие еще акции проводили активисты Гринпис

Гринпис не в первый раз устраивает акции протеста в связи с попытками нефтяных компаний начать освоение Арктики. В августе 2012 года шесть альпинистов Гринпис “оккупировали” на 15 часов платформу “Приразломная”. В феврале 2012 года активисты на 76 часов заняли буровую вышку нефтеразведовательного судна компании Shell в новозеландском порту Таранаки. В мае 2011 года экологи расположились внутри спасательной капсулы, которую они подвесили прямо над буром на одной из арктических нефтяных платформ британской компании Cairn Energy.

Исполнительный директор Гринпис Интернэшнл Куми Найду: “Наша кампания против Газпрома, Shell и других нефтяных гигантов продолжится, чтобы остановить безответственные планы добычи нефти в Арктике и вдохновить еще больше людей по всему миру на то, чтобы присоединиться к тем почти двум миллионам защитников Арктики, которые уже отдали свои голоса за создание международного арктического заповедника”.
Что представляет из себя платформа “Приразломная”

Месторождение Приразломное, открытое в 1989 году, расположено на шельфе Печорского моря в 60 километрах от берега на глубине 19-20 метров. Его запасы оцениваются в 72 миллиона тонн нефти. Нефтяная платформа “Приразломная”, работа на которой, по словам Цыбина, может начаться уже в этом году, — первая в мире подобного типа. Читайте подробнее >>

http://ria.ru/incidents/20130918/963974694.html

It’s all about the littorals… Rolls Royce unveils OPV design

Rolls Royce unveils its new patrol vessel (to be available in 55, 75 and 90-metre flavours). The new vessels will be in direct competition with of the BAE Systems OPV, the National Security Cutter and the Navantia BAM. It a world where littoral warfare, counter-piracy and counter-narcotics operations are increasingly part of of a modern navy’s operational demand, a well-designed OPV is arguably better “bang for your buck” than the LCS or an undersized frigate.

Rolls-Royce unveils new maritime patrol vessel design

Rolls-Royce has unveiled a new design of maritime patrol craft at the Defence & Security Event International (DSEI) in London.

Rolls-Royce unveils new maritime patrol vessel design

The first of a ‘protection vessel family’ of designs, is a new 55-metre craft featuring a range of equipment from Rolls-Royce (stabilisers, thrusters, steering gear, fixed pitch propellers) and MTU (diesels, diesel generators, Callosum IPMS), offering a cost-effective design that can be tailored to mission requirements.

Weighing around 500 tonnes, the new vessel is suited to patrol, search and rescue and interception duties. A 90-metre version of the craft will be on offer by the end of the year, with a 75-metre design following in 2014.

Garry Mills, Rolls-Royce, Chief of Naval Ship Design, said: “Coastal protection and offshore patrol vessels is a growing sector and this new design offers multi-purpose capability, incorporating core design elements that are replicated across the family of vessels.

“Our customers often face short timescales in the procurement of this type of craft, and having a scalable, cost effective offering is essential.

“There is a growing trend of commercial marine technology crossing into naval markets as governments seek cost reduction through proven capability. Naval vessels generally comprise many disparate and complex technologies, and that’s what Rolls-Royce, with its broad product base, is good at integrating bespoke whole-ship systems to minimise programme risk.”

Building on its success in the commercial marine market, Rolls-Royce established its Bristol-based naval ship design team last year which is focused on four key naval vessel types – naval auxiliaries, offshore/coastal patrol vessels, fast attack craft and naval ice-breakers.


http://www.rolls-royce.com/news/press_releases/2013/06092013_patrol_vessel_design.jsp

Fire contained on Russian submarine, authorities insist “no radiation leak”

The ‘Tomsk’ K-150 is an Antay-class (Project 949A, NATO reporting name Oscar II) submarine commissioned in 1996 and assigned to the Russian Pacific Fleet. The ‘Tomsk’ was taken out of service in 2009 and assigned to the Standby Force due to problems with her reactor cooling system. The ‘Tomsk’ entered a recommissioning repair programme at Bolshoy Kamen in 2010 and in was recently announced to the submarine would return to the fleet in 2014.

Authorities Say No Radiation Leaked in Russian Sub Fire

MOSCOW — A Russian nuclear submarine caught fire and was spewing smoke into the air at a port city in Russia’s Far East early Monday, but fire crews extinguished the blaze, and the authorities said no radiation leaked.

Two nuclear reactors were on board, but they had been shut down before the fire started.

Crews had also removed the arsenal of torpedoes and missiles, so there was no risk of an explosion, Russian military officials said, according to the Interfax news agency.

The submarine, called the Tomsk, was docked at a shipyard near Vladivostok for repairs.

The crew evacuated after smoke started to fill the boat, the RIA news agency reported. And photographs showed smoke billowing from vents along the submarine’s sides.

Concerns about radiation leaks into the Pacific Ocean are high after the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in Japan two years ago. And for the Russians, any submarine accident rekindles memories of the sinking of the Kursk in the Barents Sea in 2000, when some crew members were trapped alive for days but did not survive.

The Russians said the Kursk went down after one of its torpedoes exploded, but the blast did not rupture the hardened reactor segments of the submarine to release radiation.

Vows to improve safety followed, but lean post-Soviet military budgets continued to strain the Russian Navy. Under a modernization plan, Russia intends to spend 5 trillion rubles, or $166 billion, repairing and replacing naval vessels over the next eight years.

Sparks from welding during work to repair and upgrade the Tomsk most likely caused the fire on Monday, RIA reported, quoting Aleksei Kravchenko, a spokesman for the United Shipbuilding Corporation, the state-owned company doing the work.

The submarine has two hulls. An inner hull is thick enough that the interior of the submarine can be maintained at the pressure of the surface, even when deep underwater. The reactors are inside this pressurized hull.

A space for ballast tanks and other equipment separates this rigid cylinder of metal from the thin outer hull.

The fire broke out between the two hulls, Mr. Kravchenko said, separated from the two nuclear reactors by the thick inner hull. It burned paint and insulation. Firefighters extinguished it with foam, reports said.

The Tomsk is an attack submarine and, as such, would not carry strategic nuclear warheads even if all the weaponry had not been removed from the boat for the repairs. It was never threatened by the fire, the Russian authorities asserted.

An American nuclear submarine, the Montpelier, collided with a ship in 2012, and a British nuclear submarine, the Astute, beached on a sandbar in 2010. Fires broke out on Russian nuclear submarines in 2011 and in 2008 without causing a radiation leak.

www.nytimes.com/2013/09/17/world/europe/authorities-say-no-radiation-leaked-in-russian-sub-fire.html

Wreath laying at Navy Memorial in Washington, DC

130917-N-PM781-003 WASHINGTON (Sept. 17, 2013) Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, right, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey place a wreath at the Navy Memorial, as Adm. James A. Winnefeld, Jr., Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, back left, Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert look on. The ceremony was held in honor of the victims of the tragic shooting at the Washington Navy Yard Sept. 16. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Arif Patani/Released)