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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Shipbuilder Head Fired Over Delay

Vladimir Pastukhov has been dismissed as general director of Sevmash shipyard, the country's largest shipbuilding enterprise, over the company's failure to fulfill a $1.5 billion contract to modernize an aircraft carrier sold to India in 2004, Interfax reported Wednesday.

"The reason for Pastukhov's dismissal is the failure to carry out the contract to re-equip and modernize the aircraft carrier on behalf of the Indian navy," a source at Sevmash told Interfax. "The contract is delayed for three years. ... The realistic date ... is now 2011."

Under the contract, Sevmash shipyard was due by 2008 to upgrade and re-equip the ship, built in 1987, to combine the power of a missile cruiser and capabilities of an aircraft carrier.

Indian media and officials have said the ship, with a squadron of MIG-29 jet fighters on board, would considerably enhance the firepower of the Indian navy and bring nuclear rival China within range. India is the only country in South Asia that has an aircraft carrier, an issue of concern for some of its smaller neighbors.

Interfax quoted the Sevmash source as saying that miscalculating the amount of work needed to renovate the ship had led to problems.

"After a more detailed examination was conducted, it became clear that the ship's technological condition is awful and that money allocated for the renovation is not enough," he said.

The source at Sevmash also said the most likely replacement for Pastukhov would be Nikolai Kalistratov, who is currently general director of Zvyozdochka ship-repair plant, Interfax reported. (Reuters, MT)