FROZEN KURSK

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Vladimir Semiryaga Moskovsky Komsomolets, January 5, 2002, p. 2

The Kursk: three hypotheses still hold

Specialists of the Prosecutor General’s Office resumed their work in Compartment Three of the Kursk after a three-day respite. The decision to call a break was necessitated by extreme subzero temperatures (down to – 30) and fatigue. In the last several days of 2001 investigators discovered 24 contraptions and the media hastily labeled some of them classified. Northern Fleet Military Prosecutor Vladimir Mulov says, however, that “key documents for the submarine encoding devices were discovered.” The discovery was valuable, but no more than that, because it is unlikely to help investigators find out what caused the catastrophe.

Seventy-nine bodies were so far retrieved from the Kursk, 73 of them identified. Almost all personal weaponry was discovered, as well as 453 kilograms of explosives that survived the torpedo explosions in Compartment One.

According to Mulov, investigators are still trying to find out what prevented the rescue craft from docking to the submarine. Experiments are being run, but it is too early yet to talk of any conclusions. Specialists need more data. If the cause is in the construction of the rescue hatch or the rescue craft itself, then the design has to be altered, because lives of other submariners may depend on it.

Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov remains optimistic. He is confident that this year the Prosecutor General’s Office will be able to say what exactly happened to the Kursk. Ustinov confirms that three hypotheses remain under consideration: collision with an unidentified object, problems with a torpedo, or collision with a World War II mine. Investigators work with all of them so as to be objective, Ustinov said. Ustinov reiterated his intention to visit Roslyakovo again in January for an operative update.

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