Those willing to get onboard the legendary cruiser will have to wait. The ship will be towed away to a shipyard, where it will go through large-scale renovation works. Alexander Burenin has the details
Alexander Burenin, reporter: “This is “Aurora’s” command room. The most important battle decisions were made here. Most of the equipment here is genuine – it is known that this gear was installed at least in 1917 – if not during the Tsushima battle. As we can see, the wheel is turning freely. But there is one difference – its turns will not change anything. “Aurora’s” fate and route has long been decided on the land”
Its course has been changing over the past few years – there was even an idea to send the ship into total retirement and hand it over to the Naval Museum. But now, the Andreevskiy Navy flag was hoisted on the Battlecruiser and a total renovation became ever so clear. The “Aurora” hasn’t been renovated in 26 years. Although, according to ship designer Sergey Ovsyannikov, it was meant to be renovated every 10 years. Now its underway, and its very important to think of every detail – the towing procedure is by far not the most complicated one.
Sergey Ovsyannikov, head designer of “Aurora” restoration project: “When “Aurora” reaches the shipyard, all gear to be replaced must be here by then. Like diesel generator – it cannot be bought in a store; you have to order those in advance”
“Aurora’s” interiors also need revamping. Ahead of the centenary of WWI, an additional exhibition will be unfurled onboard the ship. But it doesn’t change the schedule of the planned renovation. But this is the responsibly of the Naval museum, not of the fleet.
Vladimir Firsanov, junior researcher of “Aurora” museum: “Look at these rivets – this is the true “Aurora”. When it was built, electro-wielding didn’t exist. So you walked down a wooden deck. If you take down the coating, you’ll see why it was built – it freezes through and through in the winter”
The renovation will also not hamper the pump system. Specialists are unanimous about installing state-of-the-art fire alarm. There are many wooden parts on the cruiser. Engine room will also be renovated, although the “Aurora” won’t ever move by itself again – it doesn’t have such a mission anyway. The city will take part in the renovation. While the cruiser is absent, the harbor at the Petrogradskaya embankment will be refurbished too.
Igor Kurdin, chairman of St. Petersburg’s club of sailors and divers: “The city’s budget will provide funds for the renovation of the embankment – such decision has been made already – and the Aurora will return to its place”.
The cost of the renovation is estimated from 3.5 to 7 billion rubles. But – according to experts – prices may vary. The “Aurora” will leave its place for at least 2 years. Sailors don’t talk of exact return date, but they hope – just like a century ago – it must be fully ready (well, not to fight that is, but still ready) – by October 2017. For many years it hasn’t been seen as just another ship, but as the symbol of the epoch.