Deceased Submariners Remembrance Day in Russia Date in the current year: April 7, 2024

Deceased Submariners Remembrance Day in Russia Deceased Submariners Remembrance Day is observed in Russia every April 7. It was established to honor the memory of those who died as a result of the sinking of the K-278 Komsomolets submarine in 1989, as well as other Russian submariners who perished in the line of duty.

The K-278 Komsomolets was a nuclear attack submarine of the Soviet Navy, unique for its design. It was developed by the Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering and built by Sevmash (Northern Machine Building Enterprise). The submarine was laid down in April 1978, launched in June 1983, and commissioned in December 1983.

Due to its double hull, K-287 had an impressive operating depth, which greatly surpassed that of the best American submarines. On August 4, 1984, it reached a record depth of 1,020 meters in the Norwegian Sea. In 1988, K-287 became one of the few Soviet submarines to be honored with its own name; Komsomolets means a member of the Komsomol, a Soviet political youth organization.

On April 7, 1989, fire broke out in an engineering compartment of the Komsomolets while it was running submerged at a depth of 335 meters in the Barents Sea. Caused by a short circuit, it spread through cable penetrations in bulkheads, resulting in an emergency shutdown of the reactor and the loss of propulsion.

Eleven minutes later, the submarine surfaced thanks to an emergency ballast tank blow, and most of the crew were able to abandon ship. The fire continued to burn, and the submarine sank approximately five hours later. Five crew members who were still on board, including the commanding officer, tried to escape in a capsule, but only one of them survived.

Despite the quick arrival of rescue aircraft that dropped small rafts, most submariners couldn’t use them due to strong wind and sea conditions. As a result, 42 of the 69 crewmen did not survive the accident. 9 died during the fire and the subsequent sinking, including captain Evgeny Vanin who was unable to leave the escape capsule, 30 in the cold water of injuries or hypothermia, and 3 abroad the floating fish factory that rescued survivors.

The anniversary of the sinking of the Komsomolets is observed as Deceased Submariners Remembrance Day in the Russian Navy. The observance was initiated by the Komsomolets Nuclear Submarine Memorial Society, a charitable non-profit foundation founded in 1992 that provides assistance to the families of deceased submariners.

The remembrance day pays tribute to all Russian submariners who died while serving on submarines. They include, for example, the victims of the Kursk submarine sinking that occurred in August 2000 in the Barents Sea and resulted in the deaths of all 118 submariners on board; at least some of these deaths could have been prevented if the Russian Navy had been more prepared to respond to the incident.

Deceased Submariners Remembrance Day is marked by wreath laying ceremonies at monuments dedicated to deceased submariners, which are attended by servicemen and veterans of the Russian Navy, government officials, and family members of the deceased submariners.

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