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Monday, 9 September, 2002, 20:15 GMT 21:15 UK
Russians blow up Kursk remnants
Part of Kursk wreckage
Most of the Kursk has been brought to the surface
Parts of the Kursk nuclear submarine have been blown up on the seabed by the Russian navy.

The sections of the bow had been left behind when most of the wrecked vessel was lifted last year.

The Interfax-AVN military agency, quoting a senior navy official, said remote-controlled devices had been used in the operation.

The Kursk plunged to the bottom of the Barents Sea in August 2000, killing all 118 crew members, after a catastrophic torpedo explosion.


Torpedo warheads that could have been of interest to foreign intelligence agencies remained inside the front section

Vice-Admiral
Valery Dorogin
The Kursk's wrecked shell, minus its unstable bow section, was lifted from the seabed after a complex operation which finally succeeded last October.

This summer, parts of the bow were also brought to the surface.

It is the remaining bow sections which are now being destroyed by explosion.

The Russians originally said they it was too dangerous to try lifting them as unexploded and unstable torpedoes were thought to remain inside.

An official report into the Kursk tragedy concluded that it was caused by hydrogen peroxide seeping out of cracks in a torpedo and exploding when it came into contact with kerosene and metal.

Safety concerns

The exact reason for the seabed explosions is not clear.

Russian officials have said that the last sections of the wreck might contain undetonated torpedoes, and had to be destroyed to avoid any risk to other vessels.

But some analysts said the protecting military secrets might also be an issue.

"Torpedo warheads that could have been of interest to foreign intelligence agencies remained inside the front section, as well as secret communication equipment, acoustic devices and computers," said Russian Vice-Admiral Valery Dorogin, who is on the investigating commission, was quoted by Interfax AVN as saying.

"Everything is secret in a modern submarine, from armaments to the noise-suppressing rubber that covers the submarine's external hull."

The Kursk submarine accident

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27 Jul 02 | Media reports
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