By DoD News
By David Vergun
The Russian guided-missile cruiser Moskva is believed to have experienced an onboard explosion with resulting fire damage, said a senior Defense Department official who briefed the media Thursday.
“We do believe that [the cruiser] has experienced significant damage. Our assessment is that [the crew] still appears to be battling a fire onboard. But we do not know the extent of the damage. We don’t know anything about casualties to [the] crew. And we cannot definitively say at this point what caused that damage,” the official said.
It is believed that the ship is moving east with an assumption that the cruiser is heading to Sebastopol, Ukraine, for repairs, the official said. At the time of the explosion, it was about 60 nautical miles south of Odesa, Ukraine.
It has been observed that a handful of ships operating in the northern Black Sea have moved south in the wake of the damage to the Moskva, the official said.
“There’s lots of things on a surface combatant that are combustible … that can cause explosions and cause fires,” the official said.
The Moskva has munitions, artillery rounds, missiles, a propulsion plant and plenty of fuel onboard – any of which could explode for any number of reasons, the official said. “Any sailor will tell you, especially a sailor who served on a surface combatant, on any given day that the risk of a fire and explosion is real. And that’s why [the Navy] takes damage control and fire prevention so seriously. On every U.S. Navy ship, we consider every sailor a firefighter for good reason,” the official said.
The Moskva, commissioned in 1983 as the Slava and renamed the Moskva in 2000, measures about 612 feet in length with a beam, or width, of about 68 feet.