THE KURSK WILL BE CUT WITH THE MISSILES

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Vyacheslav Gudkov Kommersant, November 5, 2001, p. 3, EV

The unloading of the submarine Kursk has ended at the floating dock of the Facility 82 in Roslyakovo. The remaining six combat, and one training Granits will be removed from the Kursk at the Nerpa, a facility in Snezhnogorsk, Murmansk region.

All attempts to unload the damaged missiles from the Kursk failed. Friday was the last successful day when seven Granits were removed. Sixteen combat missiles out of 22 have been unloaded.

Six combat and one training missiles are still inside the submarine. Until yesterday evening, naval specialists hoped to unload at least some of them, but investigation discovered that cutting them out was the only option.

As the Kommersant predicted, the Navy called the Nerpa, the facility where the Kursk was to be eventually dismantled. Navy Commander Vladimir Kuroyedov officially announced yesterday that the remaining missiles would be unloaded at the Nerpa. All unloading operations in Roslyakovo were suspended. All seven missiles are secured, and the submarine was prepared for transportation to the Nerpa. Missiles and missile tubes are isolated from the rest of the submarine, their containers filled with a special substance. Specialists say that the substance is a guarantee against accidents with the missiles.

Not so long ago the Navy intended to cut out the damaged missiles right in Roslyakovo. A trustworthy and well-informed source from the Northern Fleet headquarters says the change in decision was based on two considerations. Firstly, the dock was not designed for such operations. In theory, the dock may be outfitted with the special cutting equipment. It is also possible to transport the damaged missiles to the technical base of the Northern Fleet. On the other hand, the Nerpa already has all necessary equipment to handle damaged missiles. Secondly, for cutting out seven missile tubes, workers would have left new holes in the hull, which would have complicated its transportation to the Nerpa.

Now only Investigators work in the Kursk. Another body was discovered and removed from the submarine in the weekend, bringing sum total to 56 submariners. Forty-eight were identified.

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