Experts do not rule out a possibility that the K-159 submarine may have sunk because of violation of the safe towing rules. Such is the opinion expressed by Eduard Baltin, a former Commander-in-Chief of Russia's Black See Fleet, in his interview to Russian media on Saturday.
"The towing of this submarine should not have been allowed," said Baltin who was the K-159 captain in 1983 when the sub went to sea to carry out research work. According to him, that was the sub's last mission.
"I had it sinking even at that time. We managed to keep it steady under water but in the above-water mode it kept losing positive buoyancy," Baltin said. In his opinion, the submarine should not have been towed to the scrapyard as it was; it ought to have been properly sealed first.
"They should have welded all hull openings, then seal the upper deck hatch and tack weld it as well. And there should have been no crew aboard," Baltin said.
He added that in case a decision had been made to tow the sub with the crew on board it was necessary to ensure provision of all required emergency supplies and equipment and appoint a special commanding officer for the operation instead of assigning command to the tug's skipper.
The Russian nuclear submarine K-159 sank at 4 a. m. Moscow time three miles north-west off the Kildin island in the Barents Sea. The sub's nuclear reactor had been shut down, the ammunition duly unloaded. There were 10 crew members aboard the K-159 at the moment of the accident. One of them has been rescued, two others found dead. Rescuers continue search for the rest of the crew.