Russian submarine catches fire, scores of seamen killed

MOSCOW - Fourteen seamen have died in a fire on a deep submersible, Russia´s defence ministry said Tuesday, the latest in a string of disasters and accidents to hit the country´s navy.

"On July 1, a fire broke out during biometric measurements on a scientific research deep-sea submersible," the defence ministry said.

Fourteen crew died as a result of poisoning from the fumes of the fire in Russia´s territorial waters, a ministry spokeswoman confirmed to AFP.

The fire has been put out, the ministry said, adding an investigation was under way.

"The investigation is being conducted by the commander-in-chief of the navy."

The research was conducted to study areas near the seabed and the seabed itself of the ocean in the interests of the Russian naval fleet, according to the ministry.

The vessel is now situated at a military base in the closed northern city of Severomorsk which is located on the Kola Peninsula above the Arctic Circle.

The defence ministry provided no other details. -APP/AFP