Russian Federation Submarine Rescue Ship Kommuna

The oldest active-duty naval ship in the world today is the Russian Federation Submarine Rescue Ship Kommuna.  She has served under three governments – the Tsarist Imperial Russia, Soviet, and now the Russian Federation.
She was launched on 17 November 1913 at St. Petersburg and commissioned in July 1915 as the Volkhov.  She was renamed Kommuna in 1922 by the Soviets after the Russian Revolution.
Kommuna was intended to serve as a submarine tender as well as a salvage ship.  She raised two Russian submarines during the First World War.  Notably, she raised the British submarine HMS L55 in 1928, the remains of her 34 crew members were repatriated to England.
During the Great Patriotic War she was based at Leningrad, where she was damaged by Luftwaffe bombs.  She operated as a submarine tender and recovered a substantial number of sunken vessels, and even tanks and trucks which had broken through the ice on Lake Ladoga.
Kommuna was built with a catamaran hull form and a four-point anchoring system which allows her to fix her position above a desired point on the sea floor.  In October 1957 she raised the Quebec-class attack submarine M-256 which had sunk as a result of fire.
She has four distinctive doubled truss and girder arches which join her twin hulls and still allow clearance for salvaged vessels to be hoisted between them.  This has given her a unique appearance.
A nice overhead view giving a good indication of the general layout.  Her hulls are relatively narrow, and she displaces only 3,100 tons with a length of 315 feet (96 meters).  Crew compliment is 99 men.
There is a small conning station high atop the forward girder structure.  While this would provide an excellent view it must certainly be a challenge to change the watch in foul weather.
The Kommuna was modified to carry a Project 1837 AS-5 Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel (DSRV) along with remotely piloted vehicles, giving her the capacity to function as a rescue ship.
A profile view of the Russian Federation Submarine Rescue Ship Kommuna, 105 years of service and counting!

6 thoughts on “Russian Federation Submarine Rescue Ship Kommuna

      1. I read about her about a year ago. I was amazed. The modern Russian navy ships are falling apart upon assembly. The Tsar’s folks really knew how to build ships.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. There is some mention of Kommuna being built with a “special steel” but I remain unconvinced. If true, it would beg the question why ALL their ships aren’t built with the special steel.


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