Saturday, August 1, 2015

"Bryansk" Officer Dies in Submarine's Sail

"Bryansk" surfaces through the ice -- August 21, 2007
One week ago, July 25 - the day before Russian Navy Day, a 45-year-old warrant officer (Vitaliy Shimanskiy) died on board Delta IV-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine "Bryansk". Investigators remain tight-lipped while they continue questioning crew members, as well as relatives and friends of the officer. The only details to emerge so far are that he was found dead in the submarine sail after the submarine surfaced and that he was tied to something inside the sail.

The first clue that something had gone wrong came in the form of an urgent plea via social media for Shimanskiy's contact information during the early afternoon hours on July 25. And then silence... until Komsomolskaya Pravda published the first article about the incident two days after Navy Day. The item quickly spread through social media and was republished by regional and national media outlets.

While there are few other clues about Shimanskiy (he was a member of the submarine's Second Crew), a quick internet search revealed that a Senior Warrant Officer Vitaliy Vitoldovich Shimanskiy had appealed to the Gadzhiyevo Garrison Military Court in February 2014 to force defense officials to pay him money owed following decrees by the Western Military District that had increased his salary. The description of Shimanskiy's job title matches that of a technician working on a nuclear-powered submarine.

Many questioned why Shimanskiy remained in the sail as the submarine was submerging (no one knew he was missing? possible suicide?) and why he was tied to the sail (so his body would be found?). Several current and former servicemen from the submarine's home port of Gadzhiyevo did admit that there was at least one other similar situation, although the submariner(s) in that instance survived.

Warrant Officer Shimanskiy is survived by his wife and daughter. A memorial service was held on July 30; the burial will take place in St. Petersburg.