Yellow submarine rescue

The Royal Navy team which played a vital role in the international rescue of seven Russian sailors trapped in a sunken submersible, are celebrating a successful end to their mission.

The team, which was deployed with a SCORPIO 45 Remotely Operated Vehicle(ROV), took about five hours to cut a Russian Priz submersible free after it became tangled in fishing nets and cables.

Following a request from Russia for assistance, the SCORPIO 45 and its six-strong operating crew were flown in a RAF Boeing C-17 aircraft to Petropaclask, Kamchatka in Russia on Friday night.

The SCORPIO 45 unit was immediately transferred onto a Russian cable-laying vessel and, on Saturday night, sailed to the site of the incident, about 60 nautical miles offshore. A small team of divers and medical personnel from the US Navy accompanied the team.

The vessel arrived at the scene at around 10pm UK time on August 6th. The SCORPIO 45 was quickly deployed, reaching the stranded vessel about an hour later.

The first task for the ROV was to locate the trapped submarine, without itself becoming entangled in the fishing nets and cables that had trapped the Russian mini-submarine. The team then swiftly began removing the nets with the ROV’s remote controlled cable-cutting equipment.

This difficult operation took several hours, and once disentangled the Russian submersible was able to surface.

The Russian new agency Pravda reported that the seven crew members on board the rescued AS-28 mini-submarine – lieutenant Vyacheslav Milashevsky, navigator Anatoly Popov and sailors Sergei Belozerov, Alexander Wibin, Alexander Ivanov, Valery Lepetukha and Gennady Polonin – were safe and well.

Secretary of State for Defence John Reid, who had been very closely following events in Russia throughout the operation, said he was both very pleased and relieved with the outcome.

The SCORPIO 45 is owned by the Ministry of Defence and managed by James Fisher Rumic.