Marina Tokareva Obshchaya Gazeta, No. 3, January 1, 2001, p. 1

Another theory about the Kursk disaster says that the submarine sank as a result of a training torpedo explosion. the source claims to have seen a secret report which confirms this. it raises questions about why the torpedo was defective, and why inadequately trained crew were responsible for torpedoes.

The man who provided us with the following information requested us not to disclose his name, title, occupation, or workplace. Our source has given a written undertaking not to reveal details about his job, which obliges him to keep silent. However, his conscience is forcing him to speak out. Our source is acquainted with a secret report submitted by senior specialists to the state investigation commission after the Kursk disaster area was studied by the Academic Keldysh research vessel and the Mir I and Mir II deep sea craft.

Russian seismological stations, as well as some in Norway and the US, registered a small explosion followed by a much stronger one in the Barents Sea on the morning of August 12, 2000. The location of the nuclear-powered submarine Kursk at the moment of the first explosion was known. It was there that the Mir vehicles later found fragments of a torpedo and the Kursk’s torpedo tube, and a number of other parts.

These fragments have been raised from the Barents seabed, classified, and identified – they all serve as evidence that the Kursk sank due to the explosion of a so-called practice torpedo. This type of torpedo is designed for combat training. It contain no explosives; just devices that determine its trajectory and then force the torpedo to surface. This reusable torpedo is 12 meters long, with a diamter of 65 centimeters. It is powered by a steam-gas engine which uses 200 kilograms of kerosene as a component of its fuel. Another fuel component is air, under a pressure of 200 kilograms per cubic centimeter. The fuel is ignited by about 1.5 tons of hydrogen dioxide. This unstable substance can spontaneously combust under certain circumstances. This was what happened on board the Kursk – high-temperature steam, oxygen, and kerosene formed a combustible mix, and a training torpedo – stored among live torpedoes – exploded.

The explosion tore a 6.5-meter hole in the sub’s reinforced hull. The first compartment started taking in water at two to three tons per second. The Kursk caught fire. About two minutes after the first explosion, the charges in the live torpedoes detonated. By that moment, about 270 tons of water had already entered the first compartment. The submarine sank bow-first, and hit the seabed.

Most likely, the second compartment (housing the command center) was disabled, and control of the submarine was lost. The second explosion claimed the lives of all crew members located in the compartments from the bow to the reactor hold. The survivors gathered in the ninth compartment. They could have remained alive there for a maximum of three days.

Russian seismic stations registered the two explosions around 11:30 a.m. on August 12. The crime of the Russian government lies in the fact that the rescue operation was started only 12 hours later.

Why did a torpedo explode? The Soviet Navy started using torpedoes of this caliber in the early 1980s. They were designed by the Hydro-Equipment Research Institute of the Soviet Navy and produced by the Kirov Plant in Alma-Ata, whose specialists stayed in Kazakhstan after the USSR collapsed. Before each combat exercise, the Northern Fleet armory fills the torpedoes with kerosene, peroxide, etc. If due procedure was not observed in even one stage of torpedo preparation, this would have been enough to cause an explosion.

In the Kursk’s torpedo crew, a midshipman and two conscript sailors were in charge of mines and torpedoes. The media has published a letter one of the sailors wrote before the disaster. He writes that if he should receive a high grade in torpedo firing, he will be promoted. This testifies to the fact that the sailor had served for less than a year before the exercise in the Barents Sea. The possibility cannot be ruled out that the second conscript sailor was also in his first year in the Navy. Did these sailors have enough experience to assume responsibility for two dozen live torpedoes stored in the bow compartment of the Kursk?

Two hours before the disaster, the Kursk crew contacted their base. The submarine rose to periscope depth, perhaps in an attempt to overcome certain problems. Our source thinks it’s possible that even before the Kursk sailed out its captain, Commander Gennady Lyachin, knew that the “practice torpedo” was defective – but was forced to order a firing exercise. It is also possible that representatives of the Dagestan Diesel plant, which produces torpedoes of a smaller caliber, were nevertheless invited along on the exercise for the purpose of observing the launch of the “practice torpedo”.

Who is concealing the truth?

Admiral Vladimir Kuroedov, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, who claims that the Kursk was rammed by a foreign submarine.

Professor Spassky, who at first publicly asserted that he knew why the Kursk sank – but next day denied his previous assertion, saying that “we will probably never learn the true cause of the disaster”.

Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov, who told the public about three theories for the disaster, tending to overlook the fact that a man-made disaster had turned into a political one.

Our source concludes: “For all these people, telling the truth about the Kursk is equivalent to admitting that the Navy’s arsenals are in a state of chaos, as well as the Navy itself – and the entire country, for that matter.”