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Videos: Russian warship mysteriously engulfed in fire

An aerial view of the Severnaya Verf shipyard in St. Petersburg, Russia. (A.Savin, WikiCommons/Released)
December 20, 2021

A nearly complete Russian warship under construction in St. Petersburg, was engulfed in flames on Friday night. The cause of the devastating fire is unknown.

The Russian corvette of project 20385, known as Provorny or “Agile,” mysteriously caught fire on Friday at the Severnaya Verf shipyard. The fire broke out as the ship was nearing completion.

Videos of the fire began to circulate on Friday night, showing the raging fire. EHA News tweeted, “The second corvette of the #Russia|n Project 20385 Provorny being built at the Severnaya shipyard has caught fire. The ship was supposed to be delivered to the Russian fleet in Kamchatka at the end of 2022.”

Drone footage captured by Ruptly showed an overhead view of the warship as it burned at the Severnaya Verf shipyard.

Belarusian journalist Tadeusz Gizcan tweeted, “As if the military situation in the region wasn’t tense enough. Russian Navy’s corvette Provorny (expected to be commissioned next year) caught fire at a shipyard in St Petersburg. Russian media report that there are many gas cylinders inside, so there is a high risk of explosion.”

Further videos, shared on social media, showed the fire could be seen from some distance on Friday night.

Another Twitter user tweeted, “#RussianNavy Breaking! A fire on the underconstruction war ship RFS Provorny, in St. Petersburg. now! #Russia.”

The Associated Press reported nearly 170 firefighters responded to fight the fire.

Three workers were injured by the fire, with two requiring hospitalization.

Additional videos and pictures of the Russian warship emerged on Saturday after the fire had been put out. The fire’s destruction was visible throughout the ship and it wasn’t immediately clear if the ship could be salvaged.

“Video of the Provorny Project 20385 corvette after last night’s fire. Not sure it is salvageable,” tweeted Rob Lee, a U.S. Marine veteran and Ph.D. student of war studies at King’s College in London.

The Associated Press reported the cause of the fire was not immediately known and a panel has been created to investigate the incident.

According to Russia’s state-owned TASS news service, the fire may have started as a result of safety violations during painting work.

China’s first Type-075 amphibious assault carrier similarly caught fire in April of 2020.

In August of 2020, the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard caught fire and burned for several days. The fire caused injuries to 63 people, including 40 Navy personnel and 23 civilians. The Navy ultimately decided to scrap the ship rather than attempt to repair it. The damage from the fire would have cost $3 billion to repair had the Navy not chosen to scrap the ship. A sailor has been charged with starting the fire that engulfed the Bonhomme Richard, though an investigation found a lack of firefighting training caused sailors not to take steps that could have contained the blaze.