The Russian Navy does not have a domestic replacement with equivalent capacity for the giant floating drydock PD-50, which sank out from beneath the service's only aircraft carrier last month. According to United Shipbuilding Corporation CEO Alexei Rakhmanov, there are no other graving docks or floating drydocks in Russia with the capacity to handle the carrier, the aging Soviet-era vessel Admiral Kuznetsov.
The PD-50 was a key facility at the 82nd Shipbuilding Plant, located near the Northern Fleet's home port of Murmansk. The floating drydock was commissioned in the early 1980s, the same era as the Kuznetsov, and it allowed the Soviet Navy to service the carrier and other large vessels without building a new drydock on site.
On October 30, while the Kuznetsov was in drydock for a deep overhaul, an electrical fault caused the PD-50's ballasting system to malfunction, and its tanks filled asymetrically on the left (port) side. Its two cranes toppled over as it listed, and one of them landed on the Kuznetsov's deck. The Kuznetsov floated free without further damage, but the PD-50 sank to the bottom, coming to rest in about 30-100 feet of water. (end of excerpt)
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