Russian commander 'stole two 13-ton bronze propellers from destroyer'

Russian navy commander ‘helped steal two 13-ton bronze propellers from a destroyer while it was in dry dock – and replaced them with cheap ones’

  • The naval commander allegedly stole the propellers from his former warship
  • He conspired with others to replace them with cheaper, lighter versions
  • Russian navy have not revealed how he pulled off the daring heist
  • The destroyer has been decommissioned and turned into a floating museum

A former Russian Navy commander has stolen two 13-ton bronze propellers from a decommissioned destroyer while it was in a dry dock being converted into a floating museum.

The commander conspired with others to secretly replace the propellers on the Bespokoynyy with ones made from a cheaper and lighter material.

Sergei Sharshavykh, head of the military investigations team in the Russian Navy’s Baltic Fleet, said the Sovremenny class warship’s propellers were valued at around 39million rubles, equivalent to £390,000.

A former Russian Navy commander has stolen two 13-ton bronze propellers from a decommissioned Sovremenny class destroyer

The warship now functions as a floating naval history museum (pictured) on an island near St Petersburg

The names of the former commander of the 511ft destroyer and his accomplices have not been revealed, nor has their method for removing the weighty objects, according to Russian media outlet Interfax.

But the Russian navy have said their investigation is nearly concluded. 

The heist took place at the Yantar Shipyard in the heavily militarised Kaliningrad which is home to the headquarters of the Baltic fleet.

The guided missile destroyer, which was commissioned in 1991, returned to the Yantar in 2016.

The commander conspired with others to secretly replace the propellers on the Bespokoynyy with ones made from a cheaper and lighter material

The Sovremenny class, also known as Project 956 Sarych class, consisted of 21 ships built by the Soviet Union and later the Russian army

Investigators have not revealed when the theft took place but by 2018 the warship was on display as a museum of military history as the Patriot Park in Kronstadt, near St Petersburg.

The Sovremenny class, also known as Project 956 Sarych class, consisted of 21 ships built by the Soviet Union and later the Russian army.

Four of them ultimately went to the Chinese navy and construction continued until 1991.

The heist took place at the Yantar Shipyard in the heavily militarised Kaliningrad which is home to the headquarters of the Baltic fleet

At the time they was launched, Sovremenny class ships had the most sophisticated radar and communication systems of any in the Soviet fleet

Bespokoynyy was commissioned on December 28, 1991, two days after the Soviets voted to dissolve the union. 

The ships were armed with eight P-270 Moskit supersonic anti-ship missiles, 48 surface-to-air missiles, two twin 130m gun mounts and torpedo tubes.

At the time they was launched, Sovremenny class ships had the most sophisticated radar and communication systems of any in the Soviet fleet.

All four of the Chinese ships are still in service, and the Russian Navy also has four which are undergoing major redesigns.   

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