To salvage the cruiser “Moscow”, the century-old Russian ship was dispatched to prevent the leakage of secrets.
According to reports by the Ukrainian State News Agency on April 28, the agency published the German media “Bild”, saying that to prevent the core secrets of the “Moscow” cruiser from falling into the hands of Western countries. The Russian navy decided to send the submarine rescue ship “People’s Commune” affiliated with the Black Sea Fleet to the relevant waters for salvage work, but the news has not been confirmed by Russia.
Moskva was seriously damaged in mid-April after being hit by Ukrainian Neptune shore-based anti-ship cruise missiles. The vessel then caught fire, necessitating a full-crew evacuation.
The flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet had been spearheading Moscow’s naval campaign in Ukraine for two months, serving as a crucial component in the siege of Mariupol’s port city.
The submarine rescue ship “Kommuna” was born in the late period of Tsarist Russia and has reached a hundred years of age. Because it continued to serve in the Soviet Red Navy and the Russian Navy, it was called “the veteran of the three dynasties”!
According to HI Sutton, a submarine warfare expert, the Russian military is undertaking a salvage operation in the location where the cruiser Moskva sank, based on satellite picture analysis. The Kommuna, the world’s oldest operational navy ship, is one of the vehicles involved in the salvage effort.
The Kommuna was stationed at the Crimean peninsula’s Sevastopol military port, near where the battleship Moscow caught fire and sank on April 14.
It’s no secret that the modern Russian Navy has many old vessels designed in Soviet times. But there is also a unique specimen that is even older than them. Constructed in the Russian Empire, this vessel took part in both World Wars and continues to serve today on a par with modern ships.
The Kommuna was not designed to conduct warfare and it had no weapons. The main purpose of this catamaran vessel was to salvage submarines and serve them in the open waters.
The recovery ship is outfitted with an AS-28 deep-submergence rescue vehicle (DSRV) capable of diving more than 1,000 meters into the water, sufficiently enough to investigate the wreckage of the Moskva.
Since 1967, the Kommuna has been a part of the Black Sea Fleet, based in Sevastopol, Crimea. Its crew increased from 23 to 41 service personnel.
The Kommuna has raised over 150 vessels in total, but submarines are not the ship’s only business. In 1977, it salvaged a sunken Su-24 aircraft.
Can she recover Moskva
The Moskva is too big to fully recover, but large debris and rocket launchers can be towed to the surface,” Sutton said. Meanwhile, lifting the whole 610-foot hull of the Moskva in one piece is unrealistic. However, some parts can be retrieved from the sea bottom.
“That would be an enormous engineering task, to try to bring that ship up to the surface,” an unnamed U.S. Defense Department official told reporters on Monday. “We’ve seen no indication that they have shown any interest in doing that.”
Nonetheless, it’s unclear what the Russian salvage crew is hunting for. According to some accounts, the crew may be searching for cryptological materials as well as any weapons or logs. There were also persistent claims that the ship had nuclear warheads in her magazines.
However, the rumor was quashed by a Pentagon official. They stated, “We have no indications that nuclear weapons were on board the Moskva when it went down.”
The ship has a total length of 96 meters, a width of 18.57 meters, and a draft of 3.65 meters. The structure of the ship is very special. It adopts the most advanced catamaran structure a hundred years ago. The space between the two hulls is a submarine dock, which is mainly used for the maintenance of submarines. In addition, the ship is also equipped with diving equipment. Can be used for shallow sea rescue.