Russian CO Under Investigation for Stealing His Own Ship's Propellers

The Bespokoynyy at her permanent mooring at Kronstadt (file image courtesy mil.ru)

Published Jan 12, 2021 8:57 PM by The Maritime Executive

A Russian Navy officer is under investigation for conspiring to steal two bronze propellers from his own ship, according to Russian state media. 

"An officer, as part of an organized group, together with other military personnel and civilians, stole two bronze propellers with a total weight of 26 tons from the ship," said Sergei Sharshavykh, the head of the Baltic Fleet's military investigation department, speaking to Interfax. 

Sharshavykh identified the suspect as the commanding officer of the warship Bespokoynyy, a Sovremenny-class Soviet destroyer commissioned in 1991. Bespokoynyy was drydocked at the Yantar Baltic Shipyard in 2016 for permanent conversion into a museum ship. During the docking, her screws and propeller shafts were removed and her hull was sealed in order to ensure that she stays afloat at her permanent mooring. Since 2018, she has been berthed at the Baltic Fleet's Kronstadt naval base outside St. Petersburg. 

According to Sharshavykh, the CO and his co-conspirators stole the ship's bronze screws during the yard period and replaced them with similar ones made out of a cheaper material. He estimated the total value of the loss at about $530,000. 

The Sovremenny-class is a guided missile destroyer fitted with four 130 mm guns and eight supersonic anti-ship missiles. In addition to hulls built for the Russian Navy, four modernized examples are in service today with China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).