Russian submarine Vepr (K-157)

Submarine Vepr by Ilya Kurganov crop.jpg
K-157 Vepr
Career
Name: Vepr
Builder: Sevmash
Laid down: 16 June 1990
Launched: 10 December 1994
Christened: 6 April 1993
Completed: 29 June 1995
Commissioned: 25 November 1995
Homeport: Gadzhievo
Status: in active service, as of 2014
General characteristics
Class & type: Attack nuclear submarine
Type: Project 971U Schuka-B ("Akula-II")
Displacement: 8,140 tonnes surfaced, 12,770 tonnes submerged
Length: 114.3 meters
Beam: 13.6 meters
Draught: 9.7 meters
Propulsion: one 190MWt OK-650 V reactor
Speed: 24 knots
Complement: 73 officers and men

Vepr (K-157) (Russian: Вепрь literally means "wild boar") is a Project 971 Schuka-B (also known by the NATO reporting name "Akula-II") class nuclear-powered attack submarine of the Russian Navy. Her keel was laid down on 16 June 1990 by Sevmash. She was launched on 10 December 1994, commissioned on 25 November 1995, and homeported in Gadzhievo.

1998 incident

Shortly before midnight, 10 September 1998, Vepr was in port at Severomorsk. Alexander Kuzminykh, a 19-year-old seaman who was being detained on punishment charges, broke out from his quarters, killed his guard by stabbing him with a chisel, then seized his AKS-74U assault rifle and shot dead five more sailors. He then took two hostages, whom he later killed.

He barricaded himself in the torpedo room, and for 20 hours repeatedly threatened to set a fire to detonate the torpedoes. While Vepr had no nuclear weapons and her reactor was shut down, the detonation of her torpedoes while she was tied up at the dock would have ruptured her reactor, creating what the regional director of the Federal Security Service (FSB), Vladimir Prikhodko described as "a nuclear catastrophe ... a second Chernobyl."

Attempts to persuade him to surrender failed. Kuzminykh's mother was flown to the naval base but was unable to persuade her son to give himself up. The situation remained a standoff until early on the morning of 12 September, when a special FSB anti-terrorist commando unit stormed the torpedo room. Early reports indicated that he had been killed by the FSB, but later reports indicated that he committed suicide. FSB officers regretted that "there was no way to preserve Alexander Kuzminykh's life."

Kuzminykh was found fit when he was conscripted at a St. Petersburg enlistment office, even though he had suffered from a mental disorder and had been inhaling intoxicants. When Kuzminykh volunteered for the submarine service, he passed additional medical and psychiatric tests with high marks.

References

This article is based on information from the Bellona Foundation and various news stories.