Monday, 10 November 2008


From the ABC:
Investigators believe lethal gas was responsible for killing 20 people on board a Russian nuclear submarine at the weekend.
With more than 200 servicemen and civilian shipyard workers on board, the submarine was undergoing trials in the Sea of Japan when the fire extinguishing system was activated.

According to a spokesman for the federal prosecutor's investigation committee, as part of that system freon gas was released.

Initial medical reports indicate it was the gas that killed three servicemen and 17 civilians.

An investigation is under way into how and why the system was activated.

A Russian expert has reportedly said that a lack of gas masks among too many untrained civilians may have elevated the death toll in the submarine
Lord God, our power evermore,
Whose arm doth reach the ocean floor,
Dive with our men beneath the sea,
Traverse the depths protectively.
O hear us when we pray, and keep
Them safe from peril in the deep.

They were our opponents - and may yet be again. But never our enemies.

Condolences to the families of all those killed. It could have been me under some circumstances, I could have been one of the 17 scumbag civilian contractors killed on this boat, or the dozens killed on the Kursk.

I expect a collection will be made for them via the Sankt Petersberg Submariners Club.


Anonymous said...

Morning, Zoe.

Yes, that was a strange and sad story I read yesterday.

I don't quite understand why you wrote scumbag civilian contractors, though. Sarcasm? Directed at who? Why?

Zoe Brain said...

Because I'm a Scumbag Civilian Contractor, Nica. Or have been.

It's a term of, if not affection, respect. Someone who comes aboard, clueless about safety, and makes a nuisance of themselves, is a Civilian Contractor. And referred to as that to their face, though called other things behind their back, mostly unprintable.

Someone who does the same thing, but listens, gets out of the way when ordered to, and who you get warm fuzzies that they know their used food about military kit (ie equipment) - they are Scumbag Civilian Contractors, and called that to their face.

It's a term of mutual respect. Like submariners are Bubbleheads.

Zoe Brain said...

p.s. I'm still formulating a reply to you over Obama's foreign policy in particular. I can't be objective, as what is good for the US may not be good for Australia. And vice-versa.

Anonymous said...

Halon extinguisher systems usually do not release
high enough concentrations of halogenated agents to cause life threatening effects but some systems carry
up to 30% by concentration and can be dangerous.
Why not halon?

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Zoe. I thought as much. So those civilians who died were in a sense colleagues of yours. I am thinking of the the character Jack Ryan in The Hunt For Red October as an example of a scumbag civilian contractor. It's such a harsh world, the military world. No softness to it at all from what I can see. How on earth did you ever manage in that kind of environment?

Anonymous said...

Oh, and thank you for thinking about my questions. I'm sure a lot of them are quite naive and amaturish, but that's all part of the learning process and I am a very curious person by nature and you have a lot to share. No need to be objective on your part, either. Chicken soup is very bland unless you add some vegetables and spices to it.

Frederick Paul Kiesche III said...

"Next time Jack, write a memo!" (at least that was the line in the film of "Hunt", if not the book).

I was shocked by the accident, but saw one bit of light. At least time the mistake was admitted in record time, not like the "Kursk" and the initial attempts to point the blame anywhere but a accident on the boat (e.g., an American sub caused the sinking of the Kursk).

Ex-treadhead, myself.

Chap said...

Jack Ryan was government, so he wasn't a contractor. More of a water-using, air-consuming, space-filling, rack-using, movie-watching, non-qualifying, annoyance-making rider.

Big diff.

As for contractors, us Amurricans just call 'em 'contractors' on the boat. But with a certain tone of voice that explains our feeling about the particular contractors involved...