Moskva Sinking: Images Reveal Once Powerful Russian Navy Ship On Fire

Moskva Sinking: Images Reveal Once Powerful Russian Navy Ship On Fire

Flag Russia The first images of the stricken Russian Navy cruiser Moskva are emerging. They show the once-mighty warship listing to port (left). Smoke is pouring out of the superstructure and there are signs of fires.

The images are being shared on social media and I am unsure of the original source. But they are clearly taken from a ship which went to the cruiser's aid. A quick analysis of what we are seeing.

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Open Source analyst and experienced ship spotter Yörük Işık has determined that some of the photos were taken from Project 22870 rescue tug SB742. This ship is part of the Black Sea Fleet's 145th Rescue Ship Squadron, 1st Group.

The center of the damage appears to be amidships in the region of the funnels. This is aft of (behind) the main P-1000 Vulkan (SS-N-12 SANDBOX) anti-ship missiles and ahead of the S-300F Rif (SA-N-6 GRUMBLE) air-defense missiles. It is also in the vicinity of the engines.

The damage does not rule out a missile strike(s), and it remains the likely cause. Possible puncture marks in the side of the hull are visible below where the fire is. But these would need closer examination to confirm whether they were caused by missiles, or are simply fire damage.

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All of the aft life raft canisters have been jettisoned, although one remains on the aft deck. This suggests that the crew have already abandoned ship at this point.

There is clear smoke damage further aft suggesting that the fire was worse before the images were taken. However it may still be before the explosion that was reported. We cannot be sure at this point, but possibly there was a catastrophic explosion of either the anti-ship or air-defense missiles. Or possibly other systems.

Where the fire is, is also where two anti-aircraft gun mounts are. These 30mm weapons have substantial ammunition which may have already cooked off when the photo was taken. However, these seems unlikely in itself to be the serious explosion widely described.

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