KURSK SALVAGE OPERATION

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Moskovsky Komsomolets, October 24, 2001, p. 2

Despite optimistic forecasts from the operation managers, who had stated that raising the Kursk would take only hours, not everything went smoothly. As had been expected, bad weather forced changes to the operation schedule, and the Giant 4 barge failed to get out of the dock on Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, the Admiral Chabanenko vessel, anchored near Floating Dock 50, hosted a meeting attended by General Prosecutor Vladimir Ustinov, Senior Deputy Main Military Prosecutor Yury Yakovlev, and Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Vladimir Kuroedov. The investigation groups were charged with establishing the causes of the submarine’s sinking.

Naval specialists were able to resume the operation only by midday, after weather had improved and the temperature stayed around zero degrees Centigrade. The main problem was that a major part of the Kursk’s conning tower had already been raised above water level. Lest the two cut-off struts on the barge holding the submarine’s stern should damage the conning tower, personnel lifted the barge’s aft by pumping water into its bow compartments. A radiochemical team was first to board the Kursk. Specialists bored holes in the hull of the sixth compartment, housing the reactor, and measured the radiation level within the sub. According to our source at the scene, radiation probes will be taken every two hours. Radiation levels in and around the Kursk are currently normal.

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