Russian Navy’s Captain Caught Stealing Propellers Of His Ship Worth $530,000

A former Russian Navy commander is under investigation for stealing from his own ship. The unnamed naval officer is accused of helping orchestrate the theft of two huge, 13-ton brass propellers from the guided missile destroyer Bespokoynyy, substituting the real ones for inferior, cheaply built copies, according to Russian news agency Interfax.

dress rehearsal of russian navy day military parade
Bespokoynyy in 2018 preparing for the annual Russian Navy Day parade. Note large Moskit anti-ship missile launchers on both sides of the bridge.

The theft, according to Russia’s Interfax news service, took place at the Yantar shipyard in Kaliningrad, where Bespokoynyy was reportedly undergoing a conversion process. The process is unspecified, but it’s been a museum ship since 2018, so it likely involved rendering the onboard weapons unusable, disabling the sensors, and draining fuel, oil, and other flammable materials from the propulsion system.

Destroyer docked for repair.

Major General Sergei Sharshavykh, head of the military investigation department for Russia’s Baltic Fleet, described the alleged theft in an interview. Sharshavykh’s office typically investigates crimes including corruption, drug running, theft, and even fur smuggling. The general described one unusual case in which Bespokoynyy’s former commander, along with other military personnel and civilians, somehow absconded with the destroyer’s propeller screws.

“To ‘cover their tracks’, instead of bronze screws, the swindlers found similar metal screws, the cost and quality of which are several times lower. As a result, the damage to the state amounted to 39 million rubles ($530,000).”

Sharshavykh said the thieves cooked up an elaborate ruse to conceal the crime, including building full-scale fakes of the missing equipment:

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