UNDERWATER CUTTING

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Izvestia, September 5, 2001, p. 2

Test cuts in the hull of the Kursk nuclear submarine, using a cable saw, were made on September 4 at the bottom of the Barents Sea. The scheduled work on cutting off the first compartment of the sunken submarine started after the test cuts were viewed via video cameras.

The salvage operation will be completed between September 25 and October 2.

A press center for the Kursk salvage operation opened in Murmansk yesterday. The first video communication session of Vice-Admiral Mikhail Motsak, chief of the headquarters of the special expedition, was timed to coincide with the opening. At 3:20 p.m. Moscow time, four test cuts were made in the submarine’s hull, while the scheduled work of detaching the front part of the nuclear submarine was started at 5.20 p.m., Motsak said. Some time later special video equipment which makes it possible to monitor the quality of cutting was delivered to the sea floor. A cut about one meter long had been made in the submarine’s light outer hull by the time we went to print.

As Motsak said, no ammunition was observed along the cutting line. However, he confirmed that 22 combat missiles, stored in containers which were damaged in the explosion, are on board the submarine. According to Motsak, 20 torpedoes, which were on Kursk, are unlikely to have remained intact in the explosion, which happened in the first compartment. He said the submarine would most probably be delivered to the docks near the Roslyakovo settlement between September 25 and October 2.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Ilia Klebanov said in Novosibirsk that the entire operation would certainly be completed by September 25.

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