The former 42,000-ton Soviet navy aircraft carrier, the Minsk, suffered heavy internal damage as the result of a sustained fire at the southern Chinese port where it was being converted into a theme park.
The Russians sold the Minsk to China two years ago minus all carrier military equipment. The ship had laid idle near Vladivostok for several years and was considered to be in no condition to be re-commissioned in the Russian navy.
A fire broke out in the Minsk
on Wednesday. Sources indicate that the intense fire lasted at least eight hours and that it may have taken as much as 14 hours to fully extinguish it. The ship's interior was being reconstructed to make it part of the theme park. The ship was tied up alongside the entertainment centre-to-be and was due to remain in that situation. How much damage has been done by the fire is unclear.
Another incomplete Russian carrier was reportedly bought by another Chinese firm two years ago, also for entertainment purposes. But it remains in Nikolayev, Ukraine, and would require an enormous tow before it could reach Guangdong.
Article by Harvey Stockwin in The Times of India News Service