Operation of salvaging the first compartement of Kursk atomic submarine has been started. Yesterday morning, Kil-164 vessel moved to the area of the submarine’s wreck. Initially, the Kil-164 departure was fixed for May 15, though the weather hindered from starting the operation. In the next several days, the weather is forecasted to be good, which allows to work around the clock. According to spokesman for the Northern Fleet, Vladimir Navrotsky, “this lifting operation is rather complicated as for its technical aspect, and we depend on the weather very much.” The project foresees lifting parts of the first compartement: torpedo-tube, aerials, and high-pressure oxygen cylinder. Divers will not participate in the operation: everything will be done with equipment. “You understand: robotics with video-system and grasping vehicle should work in coordination with each other, while sea, streams, winds could hinder the equipment from exact work. This is the main difficulty,” – director general of Rubin Central Design Office, Igor Spassky said. Recently, manipulators established on deep-water devices were tested. Three of five so-called “casks” (sea anchors) are planned to be established for fixing the vessels. In addition to Kil-164, two more ships will participate in the operation: Mikhail Rudnitsky rescue vessel and Altai rescue tug. The operation should look in this way: the ships take their places in the area of the submarines’ wreck, and when the weather is suitable, deep-water devices are lowered. They will raise parts of the hull and elements of the first compartement from the bottom with the manipulators. Later, all the lifted details will be transported to St Petersburg, or studied directly in the city of Murmansk. Though, anyway, studying the details, especially that ones belonging to the torpedo-tube, could finally answer the question about the reasons of the submarine wreck. At least, the specialists hope for it. So far, the operation’s continuance could not be predicted. Though, according to the common opinion, the operation will be completed by the end of summer. The fate of the first compartement has not been decided yet completely. It will be most likely blown up after all the works are finished.
Roman Kiselev PRAVDA.Ru St Petersburg
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/north-west/2002/05/30/41983.html