Russia's largest warship was returning from a mission to Syria when its engines failed in heavy weather.

In an embarrassing episode for the Russian navy, the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier broke down in one of the world’s roughest stretches of water.

The ship’s trouble-prone engines stalled in the Bay of Biscay in 2012, and footage of Nikolay Chiker towing the 1,000ft Kuznetsov has emerged on YouTube.

The video shows the tugboat ploughing through heavy swells as it manoeuvres alongside the stricken 43,000-tonne warship before firing a line to the aircraft carrier, attaching a cable and setting off to tow it back to Russia for repair.

Admiral Kuznetsov, the largest warship in Russia and the second largest aircraft carrier in the world, was returning from a diplomatic visit to Syria in 2012 in support of President Bashar al-Assad when the incident occurred.

The Bay of Biscay – located south of the Celtic Sea along France’s west coast – is known for its tumultuous weather and forms a notoriously difficult part of many yacht-racing routes, including the Vendee Globe, Mini Transat and Transat Jacques Vabre.
Heavy weather conditions in the Bay have produced waves between 40 and 50 feet tall, including one that struck a Brittany Ferries boat during a force 9 gale on 21 May, 2006.

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