Murmansk was a light cruiser project no. 68-bis of the Soviet and later the Russian Navy’s Northern Fleet.
She was laid down in Severodvinsk in 1953 and commissioned on 22 September 1955. The Murmanskjoined the 2nd Cruiser Division on the division’s formation in 1956.
In 1994 she was sold to India for scrapping but ran aground off the Norwegian village of Sørvær during the transfer. It was first estimated that the winter storms would destroy the parts of Murmansk above the water, but in 2009 funding was allocated to pay for the dismantling of the vessel. Since the ship was in very bad state when the decision to remove it was done, there was no possibility to tow it. It had to be removed piece by piece. Scandinavia’s largest demolition contractor, AF Decom, constructed a massive breakwater and dry dock around Murmansk to access the shipwreck from land and demolish it where it rested. The dock around the wreck was sealed in April 2012. By mid-May the dock was almost empty of water and the demolishing of the cruiser began. The project was completed in 2013.
There is a dispute about possible radioactive substances within the ship. Some claim that the substance found is Polonium-210, which has a half-life of 138 days.
On the 24th of December, 1994, the Russian cruiser broke free while being towed, and partially sank outside a small village, on an island on the north coast of Norway. This seas are very rough and the area is subject to extreme weather conditions.
In short, the AF strategy consists of the dry dock demolition and removal of the wreck where it lies. This will be done by establishing breakwaters and constructing a dry dock around the “Murmansk” wreck. The water will then be pumped out of the dry dock so the wreck will be dry. Then construction machinery will then break down the cruiser, and sort different demolition materials to be shipped out to waste and recycling facilities.
W e have finally succeeded in getting the dock watertight and “Murmansk” is now out in the open. We have chosen not to drain the pool completely because we do not want to expose the construction of unnecessary stress. We can easily demolish most of the ship as it is situated now, says project manager and senior adviser Knut Arnhus in the Norwegian Coastal Administration according to their web site.
The wreck is in very bad condition since waves and hard weather has torn it for almost 20 years. The contractor will not try to get into the ship before it has been opened thoroughly from the outside, and then tear it apart piece by piece”.