Kommuna is a submarine salvage ship in service with the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet. A double-hulled catamaran, she was laid down at the Putilov Factory (now the Kirov Factory) in St. Petersburg in November 1912 as Volkhov.
She was spotted today departing Sevastopol, where the Russian Black Sea Fleet Headquarters was established after the invasion and illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014.
Covert Shores OSINTers made this observation:
“Kommuna is likely to be carrying a deep-diving submersible. AS-28 is a Project 1855 Priz class DSRV (deep submergence rescue vehicle). This 55-t submersible can dive to depths of 1,000 meters, far in excess of the depths over Moskva.
AS-28 is slightly well known because it was the submersible that had to be rescued in 2005.“ The double catamaran design and intricate winch design allow her to raise ships and aircraft from impressive depths.
In fact, in November 1956 she located the submarine M-200, and in October 1957 raised the M-256. In 1974 she was equipped with a Type AS-6 Poisk-2 submersible, which on 15 December 1974 made a record dive to a depth of 6,647 ft.
In 1984 the ship was laid up for transfer to the Russian Academy of Sciences. However, the transfer was canceled, and she was thoroughly looted and had to be completely refitted before returning to Naval service. In 1999 she was re-designated from “salvage ship” to “rescue ship”.
In October 2009 she received a British-built submarine rescue submersible Pantera Plus, capable of operating to depths of up to 1,000 meters (3,300 ft). As of January 2012, she forms part of the detachment of rescue vessels based at Sevastopol. The position where the Moskva sunk is most likely less than 1,000 meters, making salvage operations completely plausible. However, deploying such a soft target in the range of Ukrainian missiles may be a challenge to Russian planners.