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Death of a hero who saved White Sea from nuclear disaster

Captain who saved White Sea from nuclear disaster dies at 67, Barents Observer  When a training missile exploded in the silo, Captain Igor Grishkov immediately dived his enormous Typhoon submarine to flush away burning rocket fuel before the other nuclear weapon-tipped missiles were set on fire.  By Thomas Nilsen, February 03, 2018

One of Russia’s most unknown heros, submarine captain Igor Grishkov, is dead 67 years old, the blog site Korabel reports. After retirement, he moved to Severodvinsk by the White Sea where he lived until his death this week.

Severodvinsk Mayor, Igor Skubenko, is quoted saying Captain Grishkov will remain forever in the history of Severodvinsk and his successful experience and struggle to rescue the submarine will be adopted by many other submarine commanders.

Failed coup in Moscow

What happened in the White Sea in September 1991 is little known to open public sources. Captain Igor Grishkov was sailing out the White Sea to the area where he was told to launch a ballistic test missile supposed to hit the designated target on the Chukotka Peninsula in the Far East of the Soviet Union.

Grishkov’s vessel, TK-17, was the fifth of the six giant Typhoon class submarines……..

The Typhoon submarines and the on board SS-N-20 nuclear missiles are designed to launch its nuclear weapons from submerged position. So also for this test on September 27, 1991.

10-9-8-7-6….. , then suddenly the missile exploded, blowing off the cover of the silo. Captain Grishkov ordered his men in the command centre of the submarine to blow the tanks with air and make an emergency surfacing. At surface, the crew could see a massive fireball over the deck.

All 20 nuclear missile-silos on the Typhoons are in front of the tower.

The fire came from the solid propellant of the exploded missile that had leaked inside the silo and all around the deck near the blown-to-pieces part of the silo-cover. Also the rubber-cover of the outer hull was on fire. Within seconds, Captain Grishkov reportedly understood the danger. What would happen if the fire spread and triggered overheating of the highly flammable propellant in the other 19 missiles. Those who were not on board for test shooting but aimed for real nuclear war.

Dive man, dive!

There was only one option; dive down again and hope the seawater would extinguish the fire. He warned his crew members in the missile compartment to be prepared for flooding. Diving a more than 30,000 tons heavy vessel just after emergency surfacing is not easy, its dangerous and its risky.

But the alternative was so much worse.

The commanders on bridge managed the task quickly and then surfaced again. The manoeuvre was successful and a real nuclear catastrophe in the White Sea was miraculously prevented……….

Back in port, the accident was kept secret to most people. Damage control was done, the burnt silo was cleaned and sealed off and the rubber on the outer hull was repaired. The silo in question was never used again, and TK-17 continued to sail with 19 missiles until she was laid up in 2004 and put in reserve.

Although the heroically saving of his crew and submarine, Captain Igor Grishkov was never awared with the medal “Hero of the Soviet Union” or today’s “Hero of Russia”.  …….https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/security/2018/02/captain-who-saved-white-sea-nuclear-disaster-dies-67

 

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February 5, 2018 - Posted by | PERSONAL STORIES, Russia

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