Doomed sub not meant for India: Russian official

November 12th, 2008 - 8:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Nov 12 (RIA Novosti) A Russian defence industry official denied Wednesday that talks had been held with India on the delivery of the nuclear submarine which caught fire during sea trial last weekend in which 20 people on board were killed.”Russia did not launch talks on a contract to supply India with the Nerpa nuclear-powered submarine,” the official said.

The tragedy occurred late Saturday while the Nerpa nuclear-powered submarine was undergoing trials in the Sea of Japan.

Three submariners and 17 shipyard workers died in the accident. There were 208 people, 81 of them submariners, on board the vessel at the time.

Investigators said the deaths were caused by suffocation after fire extinguisher freon gas was released following the activation of the submarine’s fire safety system. It has been suggested that human error could have been a factor in the accident.

The Nerpa started sea trials on Oct 27.

The incident is the worst in Russian naval history since the sinking of the Kursk nuclear submarine in 2000 when all 118 sailors died.

The construction of the Akula II class Nerpa nuclear attack submarine started in 1991, but was suspended for over a decade due to a lack of funding.

Akula II class vessels are considered the quietest and deadliest of all Russian nuclear-powered attack submarines.

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