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Friday, 10 August, 2001, 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK
Kursk lifting 'on course'
The first anniversary of the sinking is on Sunday
The Russian Navy says divers have cut 10 of the 26 holes needed in the hull of the Kursk ahead of the operation to lift the wreck.

Navy spokesman Igor Dygalo said that engineers would begin cutting off the front section of the submarine containing its nuclear torpedoes on Sunday - the first anniversary of the Kursk's sinking.

The anniversary will be marked by a memorial service and wreath laying at the submarine's home port of Vidyayevo.

The wreck is due to be lifted in September, allowing relatives to bury their loved ones.

Cutting operation

Preparatory work for the lifting hit a snag earlier in the month when divers discovered that the holes would have to be cut by hand instead of by robots as planned.

Wreath laying
The anniversary will be marked by a wreath laying
The robots could not be used because the space between the hulls was filled with pipes, air-pressure canisters and supports.

Video footage of the operation released by the navy shows divers manoeuvring outside the wreck amid a mass of wires and pipes.

The holes are required for the 26 massive cables which will lift the submarine.

Before the lifting can take place, divers will cut off the front section of the submarine which the navy fears may contain unexploded torpedoes.

The nose will be left on the seabed, though it may be lifted later.

The cause of the sinking which killed all 118 crew on board is still unknown.

Russian officials have suggested the submarine may have collided with another vessel or object, but outsiders have blamed an internal malfunction.

See also:

07 Aug 01 | Sci/Tech
New theory for Kursk sinking
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