Russian jury acquits captain of India-bound submarine

30th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

A Russian jury on Friday acquitted the captain of an attack submarine whose handover to India was pushed back by a tragedy in which 20 people died during sea trials, the court said.

The Nerpa was undergoing trials in the Sea of Japan in November 2008 when its fire-fighting system went off by accident, filling the submarine with a toxic gas that killed 20 sailors and shipyard workers.

A military court in the Pacific port city of Vladivostok said a jury acquitted the submarine's captain and one of its sailors.

"A jury acquitted D.B. Lavrentyev and D.M. Grobov," the Pacific Naval Military Court said in a statement, referring to the captain and sailor respectively. The two had been accused of unprofessional conduct and acting beyond their authority.

The final court ruling is expected early next month.

The accident was Russia's worst naval disaster since the sinking of the Kursk submarine in the Barents Sea in 2000, in which all 118 sailors on board died.

Russia has said it will lease the submarine to India but its delivery date has been pushed back several times.

© 2011 AFP

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