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Friday, 29 June, 2001, 14:38 GMT 15:38 UK
Divers prepare for Kursk lift
Kursk salvage diagram
A barge will raise the Kursk using steel ropes
Divers have been preparing to join the team attempting to raise the wreck of the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk.

A ship is due to leave Aberdeen at the beginning of next week carrying diving experts from Russia and Holland as well as some based in the Scottish city.

They will make the 10-day journey to the Barents Sea where the sub, once the pride of the Russian northern fleet, lies.

This is a long job which will be carried out round the clock

Mikhail Barskov, Russian Navy
All 118 of the Kursk's crew lost their lives when an explosion occurred during a naval exercise almost a year ago.

There were unsuccessful attempts by the Russian Navy to rescue the trapped crewmen who had survived the initial accident.

It is not the first time there has been Scottish involvement in the Kursk rescue bid.

In the middle of August last year a Renfrew-based team sent a rescue sub, the LR5, to the site of the explosion.

However, the unit was never used.

Website launched

The attempt to lift the submarine - which should be completed some time in September - will involve an initial inspection and monitoring of radiation levels.

The divers will also start underwater cutting on the Kursk's hull in preparation to raise the wreck.

Map of the area
It will take 10 says to reach the site
Following extensive news coverage of the explosion and the fierce media criticism which followed, the Russian authorities have made efforts to be as open as possible about the salvage.

They launched a website in which senior Russian naval and government personnel took part in an online discussion about the operation, which is scheduled to begin on 10 July.

A Russian Government spokesman, Sergei Yastrzhembsky, promised there would be full media access to the operation.

Salvage exercise

Russian officials came under a torrent of criticism for failing to give accurate information about the Kursk disaster and for delaying a request for foreign help.

It is hoped the salvage will not only result in the victims being recovered, but will explain what crippled the Kursk.

Norwegian divers helped retrieve bodies from the Kursk
Norwegian divers helped retrieve bodies from the Kursk
Dutch company - Mammoet Transport BV - will lead the salvage exercise.

The company's president Franz van Seimerin said special ships would be engaged in lifting the submarine and tugging it to a port dock.

Russian Navy deputy commander Mikhail Barskov said technical equipment had been brought to Russia from the Netherlands and was being tested.

He added that 32 divers would be involved and a special force of 23 ships of different classes would ensure safety of the lifting operations.

"This is a long job which will be carried out round the clock," Mr Barskov said.

The Kursk submarine accident

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25 May 01 | Europe
15 May 01 | Europe
12 Jan 01 | Europe
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