Norway Dismantles Soviet Cruiser

A unique dismantling operation over Soviet cruiser Murmansk is conducted in Norway and will cost tens of millions euros. Gun turrets of the rusty ship lying on sea cliffs are still awe-inspiring, although the cruiser’s fate has been determined – dismantling and utilization, reports Komsomolskaya Pravda.

Workers build up sand fill in the fjord of Soroya Island; floating crane put piles which are driven into the sea bottom. Then the water will be pumped out, and the 211-meter long hull of the Northern Fleet’s merited cruiser Murmansk would be inside a sort of a dry dock. Special equipment will dismantle the hull, and sorted materials then will be carried away for further utilization and reprocessing.

Pumping will take 10-14 days; dismantling and transportation works are supposed to be finished by the end of 2011, reports Norwegian broadcast company NRK. The operation will cost Norway NOK 328 mln which is somewhat EUR 42 mln. Norway meets these expenses for the purpose of national environmental security.

The cruiser was washed ashore in 1994. Once being a proud of Northern Fleet and hosted Leonid Brezhnev , the cruiser was sold for scrap to India. For some reason, Russian defense ministry chose stormy December for the ship’s towage. That led to grievous result – towropes could not live in Norwegian Sea’s onslaught, and Murmansk was washed on Soroya cliffs, Finnmark province.

The ship has been lying there for over 16 years and became a local showplace, a stronghold of divers and photographers. Some tourist tours over Finnmark even included visits to the Soviet ship. In Russia, former crewmembers of Murmansk made a website, published a book about the cruiser and offered the government to buy the ship in order to stop disgrace of Russian Navy. However, all requests were ineffective.

In July 2008, the Soviet naval ensign appeared on the ship in the Russian Navy Day. The flag was run up by former crewmember Andrei Mantula saying his father used to serve on Murmansk too.

That gesture aroused a little interest in Russia, and soon the country forgot about Murmansk again. In contrast to Norway. Local ecologists insisted that the ship was checked for environmental threats.

It was decided to dismantle the cruiser in Aug 2008 when scientists found radioactive agents, polychlorbiphenyl and bromated fire inhibitors in the samples taken from the ship, reports The work started in 2010 after the project was developed and the money was appropriated.

Presently, the circle of sand fill is almost closed. The course of work is being recorded by web-camera. In prospect, it is planned to create a documentary with high-speed filming. That will be the first use of Roundshot Livecam project in Norway; the camera shoots a full-round panorama every 3 seconds.

Source: rusnavy, June 12, 2011;