KHABAROVSK, June 15 (RIA Novosti) - Sea trials of the Nerpa nuclear-propelled submarine, which was damaged in a fatal accident during previous tests, will resume in late June, the director of the Amur shipyard in Russia's Far East said on Monday.
"Trials are to start at the end of June; a team has been formed and is ready for work," Nikolai Povzyk said.
On November 8, 2008, while the Nerpa was undergoing sea trials in the Sea of Japan, its on-board fire suppression system went off, releasing a 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.
Povzyk earlier said the Nerpa, which is due to be leased by the Indian Navy, could be ready by the end of the year if the project receives sufficient financing.
India has reportedly paid $650 million for a 10-year lease of the 12,000-ton Nerpa nuclear attack submarine. Indian media have reported that the construction of the vessel was partially financed by the 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.
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.
Akula II class vessels are considered the quietest and deadliest of all Russian nuclear-powered attack submarines.