THE KURSK MIGHT HAVE BEEN KILLED BY ITS OWN TORPEDO

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Rossiiskaya Gazeta, May 26, 2001, p. 1

The governmental commission has drawn its conclusion. According to Navy Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Kuroyedov, the major hypothesis is that detonation in the Kursk was caused by the explosion of a training torpedo, which lacked a warhead but was outfitted with a potentially dangerous engine. This hypothesis does not deny the possibility of collision with another submarine. Deputy Premier Ilya Klebanov says that “involvement” of the torpedo is all but an established fact, though the chronology of events is not yet entirely clear – whether an emergency in Compartment 1 preceded the collision, or the collision caused the detonation in Compartment 1.

Everything will be clear after September 15, when the Kursk has been raised from the seabed. Klebanov says that the operation as such will take 8-10 hours, after which the submarine will be towed to dry dock. The hull will then be cut into scrap metal. Compartment 1 will be left on the seabed, as the decision on what to do with it has been postponed until after the rest of the submarine has been salvaged. According to Klebanov, “Compartment 1 will be studied by Russian specialists.” The problem is, it still contains torpedoes.

The tragedy has taught the Russian Federation at least one lesson: according to Kuroyedov, the government has decided to finance the development of naval rescue.

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