November 17, 2008 | Mark Paradies

Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: Death Aboard a Russian Sub – Do We Investigate or Criminalize?

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Here is an article that suggests potential lessons learned from the release of freon and resulting deaths aboard a Russian sub:

http://mnweekly.ru/news/20081114/55356908.html

Lessons from preliminary information are hypothesized as:

Of the total number of victims (41), 36 were civilian specialists, who were most likely affected because they had not been trained or, less likely, because of a limited number of breathing apparatuses.

Workers and engineers taking part in building and testing submarines should be trained in survival procedures, including fire and the possible release of Freon.

And lastly, why were nearly three times more people on board during the sea trial? Overcrowding can only lead to commotion and disorder.

Reporter Ilya Kramnik concludes:

We can only hope that the proper conclusions will be drawn from the tragedy, and that it will not be repeated on the Nerpa or any other submarine.

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Then there are two articles focussed on blame:

http://mnweekly.ru/news/20081114/55356931.html

http://www.nationalpost.com/rss/story.html?id=956409

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Here’s an excerpt from one of the articles:

A crew member activated without permission a fire safety system on board the Russian nuclear submarine Nerpa, causing the deaths of 20 people, investigators said on Thursday.

‘Military investigators have determined the person who activated, without permission and any particular reason, a fire safety system on board the submarine. He is a sailor from the crew, and he has already confessed,’ Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for the investigation at the Prosecutor General’s Office said.

Criminal charges have already been brought against the crew member, and he faces up to seven years in jail.

What do you think???

Is this government blame to avoid looking for deeper causes?

Will jailing the sailor for seven years stop future accidents?

Which is the more appropriate approach – root cause analysis or criminal prosecution?

Can you take both approaches or are they mutually exclusive?

Let me know by clicking on the comments link below.

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