According to the information of Russia's RTR TV channel, a source in the Smit International company responsible for raising the Kursk nuclear submarine has reported a test lifting of the vessel's forebody off the bottom of the Barents Sea. The test was accomplished around 1:00 p.m., Moscow time. By Sunday morning, according to Smit International, lifting devices were attached to the last of the 26 holes cut in the submarine's hull. After that, the raising crew tested the entire set of 26 lifting devices by burdening each cable with 150 tons. Having analysed test results, specialists decided to launch a test lift of the forebody off the bottom. Smit International asserts that the test went smoothly and the submarine was "moving," i.e. it is not fastened to the sea bottom as many have feared. By 6:00 p.m. Sunday, the vessel will be fully prepared for the raising operation, said the source. The same announcement was made by head of the Northern Fleet press service Vladimir Navrotsky, who said the effort to attach lifting devices to the Kursk would be accomplished on Sunday. Commander of the Special Task Expedition for raising the Kursk submarine Mikhail Motsak will hold a conference on board the diving ship Mayo. At this moment, the weather in the area is favourable enough, with the wind force reaching 8 metres per second and the sea being moderate. Although the sea is expected to roughen and the wind force increase to 10 metres per second by October 9, Navrotsky says it won't impede the operation.
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