19:14 GMT +3 hours26 November 2014
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New sea trials of Nerpa submarine set for June - paper

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New sea trials of the Nerpa nuclear-powered submarine, which was damaged in a fatal accident during previous tests, will be conducted on June 15-20, Russia's Kommersant daily said on Wednesday.
VLADIVOSTOK, May 13 (RIA Novosti) - New sea trials of the Nerpa nuclear-powered submarine, which was damaged in a fatal accident during previous tests, will be conducted on June 15-20, Russia's Kommersant daily said on Wednesday.

On November 8 last year, while the Nerpa submarine was undergoing sea trials in the Sea of Japan, its on-board fire safety system went off, releasing deadly gas into the sleeping quarters. Three submariners and 17 shipyard workers were killed. There were 208 people, 81 of them submariners, on board the vessel at the time.

"Repairs on board the Nerpa submarine are almost complete," Kommersant quoted general director of the Amur shipyard Nikolai Povzyk as saying.

Povzyk said the Nerpa, which is due to be leased by the Indian Navy, could be ready by the yearend if the project received sufficient financing.

India has reportedly paid $650 million for a 10-year lease of the 12,000-ton Nerpa nuclear attack submarine. Indian media has reported that the construction of the vessel was partially financed by the country's government.

The accident on K-152 Nerpa, an Akula II class nuclear-powered attack submarine, was the Russian Navy's worst since the sinking of the Kursk nuclear submarine in 2000, which claimed the lives of all 118 personnel on board.

An investigation has supported the conclusion that the tragedy was caused by the mishandling of a temperature sensor on board which led to deadly Freon gas being released.

Submariner Dmitry Grobov has been charged with "involuntary manslaughter" for entering the wrong temperature data for the submarine's living quarters, which caused the fire suppression system to release the Freon gas.