What is Known About This Russian Submarine Incident?

  • The incident occurred on Monday July, 01 2019
  • The incident happened in Russian Waters-The Barents Sea
  • Defense sources identified the submarine as a Losharik- AS-12/AS-31
  • The AS-12/AS-31-Losharik is a small deep-water submarine capable of operating at extreme depths (ABC News, 2019)
  • The emergency happened on a separate capsule which is lowered from the Losharik rather than the submersible itself (ABC News, 2019)
  • It is speculated there was an explosion followed by a fire
  • The crew managed to extinguish the fire but died of smoke inhalation (DW, 2019)
  • Russian officials have been tight-lipped about the incident, declining to name the submarine involved or even how many crew were aboard
  • Authorities in nearby Norway said they are monitoring the incident and have not detected abnormally high levels of radiation (Reuters, 2019)

What is Known About the Type of Submarine?

  • The unarmed vessel known by the designation AS-12, is powered by a nuclear reactor
  • One the Russian navy’s most secretive vessels, details about its design are hazy (ABC, 2019)
  • The submarine is designed to carry out special operations at depths where regular submarines cannot operate (Reuters, 2019)
  • Russian state media reports suggest the sub can dive as deep as 10,000 feet
  • Relatively small, the Losharik reportedly can hold 25 crew
  • The AS-12 is attached to the bottom of much larger submarines and released for missions at deeper depths
  • It is speculated that Losharik spy sub was launched from a Delfin-class mother ship submarine-the BS-64 Podmoskovye (The Drive, 2019)
  • The Sub was designed in the late 1980s and launched in 2003
  • Russia has largely succeeded in keeping the submarine out of view and only a few photographs of the submarine are believed to exist


What is the Losharik AS-12 Submarines Mission?

  • The Loshirak is described as secretive deep-water reconnaissance vessel
  • United States officials say the vessel is designed to cut undersea cables (BBC, 2019)
  • Western naval experts have speculated that the Losharik might be used to tap communication cables on the seabed that carry most of the world’s internet traffic (ABC News, 2019)
  • The Russian defense ministry said the submarine had been conducting research to study the ocean depths and was carrying out a “bathymetric measurement,” which maps the sea floor (ABC, 2019)
  • Russian officials say there is nothing illegal about the mission and that it, fully corresponds to the Russian law on state secrets (BBC, 2019)
  • Russian media reports have suggested that it was a secretive nuclear-powered submersible used for deep water exploration and perhaps spying (ABC News, 2019)
  • U.S. and British military officials have warned that Russian submarines have been spotted close to seabed communications cables
  • At the time of the incident a large annual NATO naval exercise-Dynamic Mongoose, began this week off the coast of Norway, involving ships from European countries and the United States (ABC News, 2019)


What is Known About the Russian Submarines Crew?

  • 14 Sailors have died as a result of the incident
  • 5 crew members have survived and are being treated at Severomorsk’s hospital
  • Russia’s defence ministry said the men died from smoke inhalation (BBC, 2019)
  • The submarine’s captain was named in some Russian media as Denis Dolonsky
  • The vessel’s crew are assigned to a military base close to St. Petersburg
  • The base, No. 45707, is attached to the Defense ministry’s Main Directorate of Deep-water Research, a top secret department that runs Russia’s deep-sea recon submarines (ABC News, 2019)
  • Vladimir Putin described the crew as High Ranking
  • Putin said, “This is not a regular vessel, as we know, it’s a scientific research vessel, a highly professional crew (Reuters, 2019)


Where is the Submarine Now?

  • The craft is now in the Arctic port at Severomorsk, the main base of Russia’s Northern Fleet on the Barents Sea (BBC, 2019)


 Have There Been Other Russian Submarine Incidents in Recent History?

  • The incident is reminiscent of a deadly explosion that sank Russia’s nuclear-powered submarine Russian Navy’s Project 949A Oscar-class submarine Kursk, which exploded and sank in 2000, killing all 118 men on board the vessel (DW, 2019) (The Drive, 2019)
  • In 2008-20 people were killed on a Russian Project 971 Akula-class submarine Nerpa nuclear-powered submarine-the submarines fire extinguishing system was triggered-the victims succumbed to asphyxiation and frostbite in their lungs (DW, 2019) (The Drive, 2019)





Russia says submarine on which fire killed 14 is a top secret vessel-ABC News (2019)


Russia says details of fatal submersible fire are ‘state secret’-BBC (2019)


Russian deep-sea submarine fire kills 14 people-DW News (2019)


Heres Everything We Know About the Deadly Russian Submarine Fire-The Drive (2019)


Fourteen Russian sailors killed in submarine fire: ministry-Reuters (2019)