The Russian Navy confirmed on Saturday it would commission a new search-and-rescue ship equipped with DIVEX deep-sea diving system in 2014.
Construction of the Igor Belousov rescue ship started in 2005 at the Admiralty Shipyards in St. Petersburg but faced a series of setbacks mainly due to the failure of Russia’s Lazurit Design Bureau to meet contractual obligations on the development of deep-sea diving system GVK-450.
The Russian Defense Ministry decided in 2011 to equip the ship with a deep-sea diving system produced by Scottish firm DIVEX, which will be delivered, installed, and tested by experts from Russian company Tetis Pro.
Igor Belousov will be the first rescue ship built in post-Soviet Russia. The vessel is vital for the Russian Navy as it still lacks reliable means to rescue submarines in distress.
After the Kursk nuclear submarine tragedy in 2000, when Russia had to rely on the assistance of Norwegian divers to reach the vessel buried on the ocean floor at the depth of 108 meters, the Russian Navy has acquired a number of foreign-made deep sea rescue equipment.
At present, all Russian fleets have British-built Panther Plus and Tiger submersibles in service.