COVERING TRACKS

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Vladislav Sergeyev, emergencies expert, candidate of military sciences Vek, June 7, 2002, p. 4

The story of the Kursk’s demise still has many unveiled facts, because the commission’s officials are keeping a low profile

The mist has cleared away: the first compartment of the Kursk won’t be raised: only a fragment of the torpedo tube and a pressurized air container. The remaining wreckage of the nuclear-powered submarine (NPL) left on the bottom will be exploded in the course of bombing.

The state status of the commission for investigating the reasons of the Kursk’s wreck as such doesn’t guarantee the quality of the work. (…) It might be more practicable to put a professional, rather than a state official, in charge of investigating the Kursk’s catastrophe. Undoubtedly, not from the Navy – the department under which the catastrophe occurred, in order to rule out the influence of esprit de corps.

Honored academic Igor Spassky, author of the majority of designs of Russian submarines, the Kursk included, proved to be the real leader of the current commission. A decision to separate the bow, where emergency undoubtedly occurred, and leave it on the bottom is being connected with his opinion. The most informative part, which might only be equaled to a plane’s flight recorder, nearly proved to be ruled out of the investigation. A necessity for cutting off the bow, allegedly to rule out explosion of the explosives which remained there, is illusory: a reduced NPL and fragments of the explosives weighing about 500 kilograms were raised after all, and twenty Granite missiles, including distorted ones, remained intact.

The bow will now become inaccessible for complex study. However, the tank containing dozens of cubic meters of fuel, designed for stand-by diesel generators, was located in this very fragment, between the light and the solid hulls. For some reason, this fact is mentioned in none of the hundreds of publications related to the catastrophe. That is, the fuel and explosives were placed side by side. How much fuel was there and what measures were envisaged to reduce explosion hazard of the fuel and its vapors in the upper part of the tank?

The bow is the most informative fragment for evaluating the version of colliding into another underwater object. However, since there is no object, there is no answer to the questions.

The history of the special agencies recalls no similar quick raid, like the one the CIA head made to Russia the second day following the Kursk’s sinking. What do these events have in common? This question is also without answer.

The elementary scheme of main objects’ layout at the training site during the first explosion, unidentified submarines included, which the sonar operators of our ships, planes and helicopters of the antisubmarine defense were undoubtedly guiding, has never been published. Especially, the place where a foreign emergency buoy surfaced and wasn’t even photographed (just sketched, as some sources reported). Being untraced, it disappeared completely. It might seem, since a Russian submarine visually examined the Kursk the next day after the catastrophe, the submarine could have as well explored the sea-bottom end rope to which this mysterious buoy was tied. However, it was probably explored, but this is kept secret.

Nowadays, society is being convinced that investigators of the prosecutor’s office are the main figures in the investigation of the Kursk’s sinking. Both as experience of similar cases and legal documentation has it, this is absolutely wrong! When equipment, especially complicated kinds, is used, the investigators are always following second, after expert divers, who possess experience of working in compartments of the Kursk’s class. (…)

None of the experts has thus far mentioned the analogy of a plane’s failure rate as regards the Kursk. In vain: the planes crash quite a lot more often than submarines; permanently operating bodies have been dealing in plane crashes, rather than commissions established for each particular case; rules of investigating man-caused tragedies in the air were formed over more than a decade and are constantly improved.

(…) When such commissions are working without obstacles, they rather quickly and qualitatively investigate the most complicated crashes. The commissions discovered non-optimal actions of the crews, as well as more considerable setbacks or neglects in organization of flights, target setting for crews, crews’ guiding, services and means of flight support, capability and ergonomic nature of the equipment. Similar methods wouldn’t be superfluous in investigation of the Kursk’s tragedy, at least because the explosion-caused fire had reached end compartment, having at the same time bypassed the reactor compartment! In the previous catastrophes of submarines, researched by the Marine Engineering Design Bureau Rubin, – K-219 and Komsomolets – each of the submarines had been on fire for a few hours. (…)

By far not everybody in the Navy agreed, as a sad joke has it, with the decision to punish officials from the Federation Council and the Naval Central Directorate by putting them on the list of members of the commission. It might be so, that it was a response to refusal of the naval officials about the course and methods of investigating the Kursk’s catastrophe, to the fact that they tried to uphold their professional point of view on the events.

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