Baltic Sea

Russian nuclear submarine collapses in the Baltic Sea and drifts off towards the Danish island



  • The Russian Navy tug was preparing to tow the submarine before it came back to life
  • Russia politely declined to help the Danish patrol ship HDMS Diana
  • ‘Orel’ resumed its transit first on the surface before going underground again

Russia’s nuclear guided missile submarine “Orel” of the Oscar II class collapsed in Danish waters on July 30 and drifted towards the island of Sejerø.

The submarine was dead in the water due to an unknown problem with its propulsion system in the Baltic Sea near Denmark’s second largest city, Aarhus. The Russian Navy was preparing to tow the submarine before it resumed operations, The Barents Observer reported.

Orel accompanied the Russian Navy “Altay” and the anti-submarine missile destroyer “Vice Admiral Kulakov” from St. Petersburg towards the Kola Peninsula when it collapsed.

A Facebook post by the crew of the Danish patrol ship “HDMS Diana” described the incident as “dramatic and exciting”. The Post added that the crew of the ‘Orel’ were seen on the forecastle deck with lifebuoys.

Danish ships often escort foreign warships as they cross their territorial waters, as there is no route into the Baltic Sea that does not pass through Danish or Swedish territorial waters. HDMS Diana was escorting ‘Orel’ when the incident occurred.

According to Diana’s crew, Altay came closer to the submarine and ropes were prepared for towing the submarine. “However, OREL has started again and the entire manipulated towing concept has been rebuilt,” says the article.

“HDMS Diana offered to help, but that help was declined politely, but not surprisingly,” she added. The Danish ship also tried to establish radio contact with the wrecked submarine, but was answered by the crew of Vice Admiral Kulakov.

“From Diana we followed the situation on the submarine closely and our thoughts quickly turned to the film ‘The Hunt for Red October’ when we saw all the people on the deck of the submarine,” the article said and added that it was “exciting” to see it up close.

The Russian ships then moved north to Skagerak, the waters between Denmark and Norway. According to The Drive, the submarine first resumed its voyage on the surface before submerging again.

The Russian Navy did not respond to why the submarine lost propulsion. “It’s always worrying when a ship of this type has propulsion problems,” said Major Elisabeth Eikeland, spokeswoman for Norway’s joint headquarters, the Barents Observer.

The Oscar II-class nuclear guided missile submarine is powered by two nuclear reactors and armed with cruise missiles and torpedoes. Two decades ago, the Oscar II class submarine “Kursk” suffered a terrible accident after an explosion in the torpedo room tore off the front part of the submarine. All 118 crew members on board died.

Another accident occurred in the Baltic Sea last year when a frigate of the Russian Navy collided with a merchant ship at the entrance to the Baltic Sea.

Representative picture. Photo: REUTERS / Host Photo Agency / RIA Novosti