USS Jimmie Carter: ''Conspiracy Theory'' Cover Up '' Stealth Sub Causes Tsunami | Veterans Today
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 14:36
Sea Wolf Stealth Subs - What do They Really Do?
The Pentagon, especially Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Chief of Naval Operations Vern Clark, were most concerned about the cause, scope, and consequences of the December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean tsunamis because they were far bigger and more destructive than they had anticipated.
More important, it had no clear alibi that their most likely source of the disaster, the Multi-Mission Platform of the new stealth attack submarine, the USS Jimmy Carter, had not been the culprit.
Its behavior '' ever since Admiral Clark had given it a most spirited send-off during the previous September from its home base at Groton, Connecticut for its testing until it returned in February 2005 for the official commissioning '' had called for the most clumsy coverups, deceptions, and dishonesty.
USS Jimmy Carter Spy Submarine - All Decked Out
The earthquakes on the fatal day had confounded all expert opinion about such events. While it acted as if they were just the most destructive of natural disasters, there was nothing natural about them.
Most uncharacteristically, there had been no warnings of the massive collapses in the Sumatran Trench, once the Australian-Indian plate had been broken loose from its base on the Antarctic one.
This was the most stable one in the world, and breaking its connection to the one to the north with the 8.2 earthquake on December 24th by means apparently of air guns deposited on the bottom from the Carter, set off a shaking of the whole plate northwards which became so powerful '' the power of 25,000 Hiroshima-style atomic bombs '' that it was simply propelled through the Burmese one it was touching to the west of Sumatra.
The Australian-Indian plate had been converted into an underground, flying saucer.
To forestall any sensible conspiracy theories about this devastating plot, Joe Vialls immediately concocted a most intriguing but essentially wrong explanation of it all.
The Dambusters - Elbe River Dam
In it, ''Tsunami result of U.S, nuclear bomb?'', the king of conspiracy theories said that Wolfowitz had done it all, but it was not by causing an earthquake but by using a devastating wall of water with something like a 9-megaton W-53 thermonuclear bomb '' like what the British ''Dambusters'' had done during WWII -dropped probably from the stern of some oil rig supply vessel plowing the busy waters.
The purpose, as the covert behavior of two American battle groups, steaming to the area from Hong Kong and Guam, demonstrated, was simply to take over the oil rich province of Aceh.
While Vialls was totally wrong about the cause, unfolding, and purpose of the disaster, he rightly left little doubt about who was responsible for it: '''...it would seem that the only realistic candidates are Wolfowitz and company, striving as always to create a 'One World Government'.''
Vialls went on to accuse the Deputy Secretary of being behind an e-mail he received which claimed that Houston was going to be attacked by a nuclear bomb at the same time '' apparently to distract people from what was going on in the Indian Ocean.
This gross piece of disinformation had the desired effect of giving Wolfowitz an alibi for the disaster, and stopping all reasonable speculation about what really happened on December 26th.
There is no evidence of a nuclear explosion off Aceh, of the USA taking over territory in its imperial pursuits, or that it did so in this case.
The whole basis of American ambitions was to take over countries through bases at important points, get them to adopt trade policies which benefit Washington, and go along with its strategy of preventive wars to build the kind of world it wants.
The best example of this is the U. S. base in Diego Garcia, what the U. K. has allowed Washington to make into a full-blown naval base, being warned by the Pacific Warning Centre of the earthquakes and likely tsunamis.
USS Jimmy Carter - Begins Sea Trials
Wolfowitz and the Pentagon still had to be worried about blow back because of the Carter's activities.
When it was leaving Groton in September 2005, CNO Clark had dropped by to wish it well as it took off for its first tests, and operations south of Australia and New Zealand.
According to an official source, he told the excited but untested crew:
''This is what tomorrow is about for the U.S. Navy '' the ability to project credible combat power to the far corners of the earth, giving the president options, around the world and around the clock.'' (''Silent Service Ebbs Uncertainty In Groton Submarines: Role Being Reduced To Fit In With New, Leaner Military','' The Hartford Courant, May 22, 2005)
It could not have gotten a better endorsement for its risky, nail-biting mission.
Little wonder that when the Carter finally returned in triumph to Connecticut, probably in late January, it let it all hang out, sporting a new broom from the front of its conning tower, showing that it had swept the Indian Ocean clean of potential enemies.
Returning With the Broom Flying on the Tower
Showing the broom was the traditional way submarines showed that they had accomplished a ''clean sweep'' of enemy vessels during wartime when they returned to home base '' what had not been done in alleged peacetime until recently, it seems, and, anyway, America '' as President Bush had declared after the 9/11 attacks '' was at war.
Of course, its mixing of testing and missions completely wrecked its scheduled tests. making them occur later than SOP dictated, if they really occurred at all.
The biggest problem had been showing the broom, and admitting when it occurred, especially if it had happened before the scheduled Alpha Tests. Besides, showing the real photographs of the returning sub in triumph might just have been so celebratory and big to pass unnoticed.
So the Navy had another sub, quite possibly the USS Toledo '' showing that it too had made a ''clean sweep'' of the enemy aka Kursk when it returned to Groton back in 2000 '' stand in its stead for the official photos of its alleged completion of the Alpha ones on November 19th.
The USS North Carolina, the latest submarine in the Virginia class, later caused a fury of controversy when it followed apparently the precedent set by the Carter by showing a ''clean sweep'' with the broom when it just returned to Groton from its Alpha trials.
Was This Actually the USS Jimmy Carter ?
The photos show that the sub, showing the broom, is quite clearly not the Carter but a much smaller, quite used submarine '' what obliged the Navy to crop down one photo of the returning heroes so its quite used, smaller conning tower is seen as little as possible, and the other has a convenient tugboat hiding its much shorter length.
Also, note that these two photographs are conveniently separated from the ones actually of the Carter to make serious comparisons more difficult.
The other photographs, especially of the commissioning of the Carter, are just as disturbing with those actually of the submarine being taken so as to play down its size, especially its length, and those of the commissioning party, especially former President Carter, and Vice President Walter Mondale, and their wives being nowhere in sight.
As for officials of the previous Bush administration, none of them, it seems, attended. The Carter, apparently for the reasons indicated, had suddenly become something few wanted to acknowledge even the existence of, much less celebrate.
It was also on February 7th '' just between when the Carter finally went on its final sea trials, and its commissioning '' that CNO Clark surprisingly announced that he would be stepping down in July.
The normal term of a CNO is five years, and Clark had already been asked by Rumsfeld about a year and a half before '' when the most ambitious plans for the sub were being drawn up '' to extend his tenure at least until the end of 2006, cutting short his tenure by a year and a half.
The New Multi-Mission Platform Gave the New Subs Great Versatility
''It's really not about me,'' the Admiral most disingenuously explained, ''It's about the institution.'' To add to the disbelief, Clark said it was time for new blood to lead the Navy '' what would undoubtedly lead to an Annapolis graduate chief, officers Clark had no confidence in.
As Bob Woodward has explained in Bush at War, Part III: State of Denial, ''Clark was one of the most improbable men to lead the Navy. Unlike 25 of his 26 predecessors, he was not a 'ring-knocker,' a graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland'...He had gone to officer candidate school in 1968 at the height of the Vietnam War.
He had quit in 1972 after his first tour of duty because he did not respect most of the officers who were making the Navy a career, but he rejoined the following year, believing the Navy was something he should do for a while.'' (p. 39)
It was by bucking the system that Clark finally became CNO after Admiral Jay Johnson in 2000, thanks to the input provided by SOD William Cohen, his civilian superior. He had asked Clark why Navy affairs were so screwed up.
Admiral Vernon Clark - Chief of Naval Operations
''They picked the wrong people,'' (ibid., p. 60) Clark replied. Of the top five admirals in the Navy, only one had ever commanded a carrier battle group. The others were usual desk admirals.
When Clark was in the running to become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, he told Vice President Dick Cheney later: ''Whatever you do, don't let it get like that again.''
Things were so bad after Clark's tenure as CNO that the President did just this '' appointed Admiral Mike Mullen '' a desk admiral who was also connected to the long-running scandal at the Naval Academy, his alma mater '' as his successor.
When Mike Boorda, the only other chief who had risen through the ranks to the top, was CNO, he became so involved in controversy and scandal that he ended by killing himself.
John Lehman, Jr., a former Navy Secretary in the Reagan administration, blamed Boorda's suicide upon the media, led by self-serving politicians in the Clinton administration. The Bush administration was so troubled by its affairs that it was willing to take the risk.
The Treasured Boat Ring
Things, though, got even worse in this regard a few months later when Clark called for the elimination of the whole submarine base at New London, and its residents were up in arms about the turnabout, as The Hartford Courant explained: ''Adm. Vern Clark found himself arguing last week for closing the base in Groton.''
But nine months earlier, the chief of naval operation stopped at the sub base and talked about the new roles for its submarines, 'to project more offensive punch with the Tomahawk (missile) capability and the surveillance capabilities the submarine forces bring to bear.' ''
While the CNO explained the switch in terms of the kind of changing mix of bases the service needed, it hardly sounded convincing, given his previous activities.
It was only after intense lobbying by those affected by the possible closing down of Groton that the submarine base was saved from the axe '' thanks to the efforts especially by Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman.
Another Sea Wolf Joins the Pacific Fleet
In doing so, though, Lieberman helped alienate his Democratic Party base in the state, losing his last party primary when he was up for re-election in November 2008, causing him to run successfully as an independent.
And Groton certainly lost its high-standing as a base when the Carter, the Navy's leading stealth submarine, finally took off from there permanently in October for its new base with the Pacific Fleet at Bangor, Washington.
Then, Clark's actual retirement services were even more embarrassing. On July 21st at the Naval Academy's Alumni Hall, of all places, Rumseld laid out the changing of the guard at the CNO in every way that would ruffle Clark's feathers.
''It is fitting we are here, in this special place in naval history,'' the SOD addressed the onlookers, ''to honor this officer who has led the Navy in historical times, as our country wages the global struggle against the enemies of freedom, the enemies of civilization.''
Then, instead of giving examples of how Clark had led the service in the fight, he went on about what everyone had been observing on the Academy's grounds during the change-over weekend ceremonies.
General Hugh Shelton
It was this unwillingness of Rumsfeld to speak candidly about Clark which intrigued Woodward to ask probing questions about his evaluation of him, and why he did not support his candidacy to become the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs after General Henry ''Hugh'' Shelton.
From the outset of becoming SOD, Rumsfeld made it crystal clear that he would be in charge of all serious matters at the Pentagon, as he explained to Shelton himself after having been in office only three short weeks:
'' 'I'm the secretary of defense,' he said. 'I'm in the chain of command.' He '' not the generals, not the Joint Staff '' would deal with the White House and the president on operational matters.'' (Quoted from Woodward, p. 22.)
Rumsfeld was obviously obsessed with the problems that his predecessor Caspar Weinberger had had with Navy Secretary Lehman, CNO Admiral James Watkins, and his successor Admiral Carlisle ''Carl'' Trost.
By then, Lehman thought he was the independent operational head of the Navy who was free to consult with the President when he wanted, and without either the permission or the knowledge of Weinberger.
To consolidate this hold over the Navy, Lehman got rid of all admirals who thwarted his ambitions and plans, that is until he ran up against Trost during the operations after the assassination of Sweden's prime minister Olof Palme on February 28, 1986 '' what Lehman had planned as his maritime strategy to get rid of the Soviet Union with a short, non-nuclear war.
The showdown between Lehman and Trost occurred twice in March 1986 when the admiral refused to back NATO's Anchor Express Exercise across central Norway to the Kola Peninsula with his carrier battle groups in Operation Task Force Eagle.
In the process, many Norwegian engineers were killed in customary avalanches that the ill-informed planners had not anticipated, resulting in hectic negotiations by British SOD George Younger and others to arrange defensive maneuvers to cover the whole mess up. According to Lehman, Greg Vistica wrote in Fall From Glory, ''The secretary of the Navy was king of the empire.'' (p. 94)
When Lehman moved to continue the dangerous arrangements '' what would have probably resulted in nuclear annihilation if the Soviets had not taken the necessary countermeasures to the Swedish surprise, thanks to the spying by Rick Ames, Robert Hanssen, and others '' by replacing Watkins by toady Admiral Frank Kelso, Weinberger belatedly moved to replace Watkins with Trost, and see off Lehman in the process.
John Lehman During Navy Secretary Days
In the interim, Lehman had choice words for the seemingly mutinous Atlantic Fleet commander:
''You're just another fucking Boy Scout.''''You're insufficiently compliant.'' (Quoted from Vistica, p. 224.)
Rumsfeld wanted nothing of this from the likes of Clark, Wolfowitz, and others.
Of course, by this time, Wolfowitz had long departed the Pentagon as Deputy Secretary for the World Bank.
He had not only been too much a strategic supporter of Clark's ambitions, but also the wild disinformation about the Indian Ocean tsunamis by Joe Vialls was starting to break down.
In the March-April 2005 issue of New Dawn Magazine, Jason Jeffrey had an updated version of his 1999 article, ''Earthquakes: Natural or Man-Made?''
In it, he talked more about what could be done with compressed air, thanks to Nikola Tesla's experiments, and spoke of '''...a body of suppressed research pointing to a more insidious agenda'' than what official explanations of the tsunamis were contending.
George Younger - Margaret Thatcher's Secretary of Defense
He concluded by mentioning the air guns that people were suggesting oil researchers were using in their searches for it.
On March 16, 2005, President Bush announced to the shocked international community that Wolfowitz had been nominated to replace Clinton appointee James D. Wolfensohn as head of the World Bank, citing his management of the Pentagon, and the fact that he was a decent man to justify the appointment.
It had been rumored for about two weeks but no one took it seriously because of the administration's complaints about the Bank's performance. It seems that the Jeffrey article had triggered rumor into reality.
When Clark finally left, the Navy lost its official capability to change the oceans and atmosphere at least for now, leaving the task again to the Air Force, as we shall see.
'' End ''
Admiral Mike Boorda
[Editor's Note:] Admiral Mike Boorda was the only Chief of Naval Operations to have risen from the ranks. His suicide was a horrible tragedy for a family with two sons and a daughter-in-law as Naval Officers and three grandsons in the military.
The Staff of Veterans Today would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the Boorda extended family.
Boorda died May 16, 1996 a suicide, having apparently shot himself in the chest. The autopsy results were not released to the public.
He reportedly also left two suicide notes; neither was released publicly, but they were said to have been addressed to his wife and to his Public Information Officer.
He was reported to have been disturbed over a news media investigation, led by David Hackworth of Newsweek, into Valor device enhancements he wore on his Navy Commendation Medal and Navy Achievement Medal (small bronze ''V'' devices, signifying valor in combat), which the media report claimed he was not entitled to wear.
He was said to be worried this issue would cause more trouble for the Navy's reputation.
'An Unnecessary Sad Ending Mike'
Former CNO Elmo Zumwalt, who was Boorda's commander in Vietnam, wrote a letter to the effect that Boorda's wearing of the devices was ''appropriate, justified and proper.''
Wearing a ''V'' to denote that a medal was awarded for in combat actions applied only to medals that could be awarded for meritorious service or for valor in combat (e.g. Bronze Star or Commendation Medal), as opposed to medals inherently distinguishing valor in combat (e.g. Silver Star and higher), and wearing the ''V'' device on the ribbon was not authorized unless the ''V'' device was specifically noted in the award citation.
Boorda was survived by his wife, Bettie Moran Boorda, four children, and 11 grandchildren.
In 1998, one of Boorda's sons requested a review of his service record. The Board for Correction of Naval Records, the ultimate arbiter of whether Boorda was entitled to wear the Combat ''V'' on both medals, determined that he was not.
Boorda's headstone at Arlington National Cemetery located at Section 64, Lot 7101, Grid MM-17.
Related Posts:The views expressed herein are the views of the author exclusively and not necessarily the views of VT, VT authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners, technicians, or the Veterans Today Network and its assigns. LEGAL NOTICE - COMMENT POLICYPosted by Trowbridge Ford on October 2, 2011, With 18320 Reads Filed under Of Interest. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
Kursk submarine disaster - Wikipedia
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 17:46
Kursk submarine disasterWreck of K-141 Kursk in afloating dock at Roslyakovo
Time11:29:34 a.m. '' 11:31:48 a.m.DateAugust 12, 2000; 16 years ago (2000-08-12)LocationBarents SeaCoordinates69° 36'² 0'" N, 37° 34'² 0'" ECauseFaulty weld on a 65''76 "Kit" practice torpedo, leading to an explosion of high-test peroxide and detonation of 5 to 7 torpedo warheadsOutcomeLoss of the ship and crewDeaths118 (all)ConvictionsNoneLocation relative to Murmansk Oblast, RussiaThe Kursk submarine disaster that caused the sinking of the Oscar-classsubmarine (Russian: Project 949A ÐÐ½ÑÐµÐ¹) Kursk took place during the first major Russian naval exercise in more than 10 years, in the Barents Sea on Saturday, 12 August 2000, killing all 118 personnel on board. Nearby ships registered the initial explosion and a second, much larger, explosion two minutes and 15 seconds later, which was powerful enough to register on seismographs as far away as Alaska. The Russian Navy did not recognize that the sub had sunk and did not halt the exercise or initiate a search for the sub for more than six hours. Because the emergency rescue buoy had been intentionally disabled, it took more than 16 hours for them to locate the sunken ship.
Over four days the Russian Navy used four different diving bells and submersibles to try to attach to the escape hatch without success. The navy's response was criticised as slow and inept. The government initially misled and manipulated the public and media about the timing of the accident, stating that communication had been established and that a rescue effort was under way, and refused help from other governments. The Russian Navy offered a variety of reasons for the sub's sinking, including publicly blaming the accident on a collision with a NATO submarine. On the fifth day, President Vladimir Putin authorized the navy to accept British and Norwegian offers of assistance. Seven days after the submarine went down, Norwegian divers finally opened a hatch to the escape trunk in the ship's ninth compartment, hoping to locate survivors, but found it flooded.
An official investigation after most of the wreck was raised along with analysis of pieces of debris concluded that the crew of the Kursk was preparing to load a dummy 65''76 "Kit" torpedo when a faulty weld in the casing of the practice torpedo caused high-test peroxide (HTP) to leak, which caused the highly volatile kerosene fuel to explode. The initial explosion destroyed the torpedo room, ignited a fire, severely damaged the control room, incapacitated or killed the control room crew, and caused the submarine to sink. The intense fire resulting from this explosion in turn triggered the detonation of between five and seven torpedo warheads after the submarine struck bottom. This second explosion was equivalent to between 2 and 3 tonnes (2.0 and 3.0 long tons; 2.2 and 3.3 short tons) of TNT. It collapsed the first three compartments and all the decks, tore a large hole in the hull, destroyed compartments four and five, and killed everyone still alive who was forward of the nuclear reactor in the fifth compartment. An alternative explanation to the faulty weld offered by critics suggested that the crew was not familiar with nor trained on firing HTP torpedoes and had unknowingly followed preparation and firing instructions intended for a very different type of torpedo. Combined with poor oversight and incomplete inspections, the sailors initiated a set of events that led to the explosion.
Following salvage operations, analysts concluded that 23 sailors in the sixth through ninth compartments had survived the two explosions. They took refuge in the ninth compartment and survived more than six hours before an oxygen cartridge contacted the oily sea water, triggering an explosion and flash fire that consumed the remaining oxygen. All 118 personnel'--111 crew members, five officers from 7th SSGN Division Headquarters, and two design engineers'--aboard the Kursk died. The investigation concluded the Russian navy was completely unprepared to respond to the disaster. The following year, a Dutch team was contracted by the Russians to raise the hull. Employing newly developed lifting technologies, they recovered all but the bow of the vessel, including the remains of 115 sailors, who were buried in Russia. More than two years after the sinking, the Russian government completed a 133-volume, top-secret investigation of the disaster. The government released a four-page summary to the public that was published in Rossiyskaya Gazeta. It revealed "stunning breaches of discipline, shoddy, obsolete and poorly maintained equipment," and "negligence, incompetence, and mismanagement." The report said the rescue operation was unjustifiably delayed.
On the morning of 12 August 2000, Kursk was participating in the "Summer-X" exercise, the first large-scale naval exercise planned by the Russian Navy in more than a decade, and also its first since the end of the Soviet Union. It included 30 ships and three submarines.
The ship had recently won a citation for its excellent performance and been recognised as having the best submarine crew in the Northern Fleet. Although it was an exercise, the Kursk loaded a full complement of combat weapons. It was one of the few ships authorised to carry a combat load at all times. This included 18 SS-N-16 "Stallion" anti-ship missiles and 24 SS-N-19/P-700 Granit "Shipwreck" cruise missiles that were designed to defeat the best Western naval air defences.
The Kursk was reputedly unsinkable. The submarine had a double hull with a 3.5-metre (11 ft) gap separating them, nine water-tight compartments, and was as long as two jumbo jets. It had a mythical standing and it was claimed to be able to withstand a direct hit from a torpedo.
At 08:51 local time, the Kursk requested permission to conduct a torpedo training launch and received the response "Dobro" ("Good"). After considerable delay, the submarine was set to fire two dummy torpedoes at the Kirov-classbattlecruiserPyotr Velikiy, the Northern Fleet's flagship. At 11:29 local time, the torpedo room crew loaded a practice Type 65 "Kit" torpedo, (Russian: tolstushka, or "fat girl", because of its size), without a warhead, into Kursk's number 4 torpedo tube on the starboard side. It was 10.7 metres (35 ft) long and weighed 5 tonnes (4.9 long tons; 5.5 short tons).
Initial seismic event detectedEdit
Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority seismic readings of the explosions on the submarine Kursk on 12 August 2000.At 11:29:34 (07:29:50 UTC), seismic detectors at the Norwegian seismic array (NORSAR) and in other locations around the world recorded a seismic event of magnitude 1.5 on the Richter scale. The location was fixed at coordinates 69°38'²N37°19'²E>> / >>69.633°N 37.317°E>> / 69.633; 37.317, north-east of Murmansk, approximately 250 kilometres (160 mi) from Norway, and 80 kilometres (50 mi) from the Kola Peninsula.
Secondary eventEditAt 11:31:48, two minutes and 14 seconds after the first, a second event, measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale, or 250 times larger than the first, was registered on seismographs across northern Europe and was detected as far away as Alaska. The second explosion was equivalent to 2''3 tons of TNT.
The seismic data showed that the explosion occurred at the same depth as the sea bed. The seismic event, triangulated at 69°36'²N37°34'²E>> / >>69.600°N 37.567°E>> / 69.600; 37.567Coordinates: 69°36'²N37°34'²E>> / >>69.600°N 37.567°E>> / 69.600; 37.567, showed that the ship had moved around 400 metres (1,300 ft) from the location of the initial explosion. It was enough time for the ship to sink 108 metres (354 ft) and remain on the sea floor for a short while.
The crew of the submarine Karelia detected the explosion but the captain assumed that it was part of the exercise. Aboard the Petr Velikiy, the target of the practice launch, the crew detected a hydro-acoustic signal characteristic of an underwater explosion and felt their hull shudder. They reported the phenomena to fleet headquarters but their report was ignored.
The scheduled time period for Kursk to complete the practice torpedo firing expired at 13:30 without any contact from the sub. Accustomed to the frequent failure of communications equipment, Fleet Commander Admiral Vyacheslav Alekseevich Popov aboard the Petr Velikiy was not initially alarmed.:36 The ship dispatched a helicopter to look for the Kursk but it was unable to locate the sub on the surface which was reported to Popov.
The Northern Fleet duty officer then notified the head of the fleet's search and rescue forces, Captain Alexander Teslenko, to stand by for orders. Toslenko notified the Rudnitsky's captain to be ready to depart on one hour's notice. Toslenko's primary rescue ship was a 20-year-old former lumber carrier, the Mikhail Rudnitsky, which had been converted to support submersible rescue operations. Berthed at the primary Northern Fleet base at Severomorsk, the ship was equipped with two AS-32 and AS-34Priz-classdeep-submergence rescue vehicles, a diving bell, underwater video cameras, lifting cranes, and other specialised gear. But she was not equipped with stabilisers capable of keeping the vessel in position during stormy weather and could only lower her rescue vessels in calm seas.:72 The Russian Navy had previously operated two India-classsubmarines, each of which carried a pair of Poseidon class DSRVs that could reach a depth of 693 metres (2,274 ft), but due to a lack of funds the vessels had been waiting in a St. Petersburg yard for repairs since 1994.
Early in the evening, more than six hours after the explosion, Kursk failed to complete a scheduled communication check at 18:00. The Northern Fleet command became concerned and tried to contact Kursk. After repeated failures, at 18:30 they began a search and rescue operation, dispatching aircraft to locate the submarine, which again failed to locate the ship on the surface. At 17:00, an Ilyushin 38 aircraft was dispatched and looked for the Kursk for three hours without spotting anything.:74 At 22:30, the Northern Fleet declared an emergency, and the exercise was stopped. Between fifteen and twenty-two vessels of the Northern Fleet, including about 3,000 sailors, began searching for the submarine. Captain Teslenko commanding the Mikhail Rudnitsky left port at 00:30.
Official government responseEditThe Russian Navy initially downplayed the incident. Late on Saturday night, nine hours after the ship sank, Northern Fleet commander Admiral Popov ordered the first search for the submarine. Twelve hours after it sank, Popov informed the Kremlin, but Minister of Defence Igor Sergeyev did not notify Putin until 07:00 Sunday morning. Sergeyev "did not recommend" that Putin visit the disaster site.
On Sunday, after Popov already knew that the Kursk was missing and presumed sunk, he briefed reporters on the progress of the exercise. He said the exercise had been a resounding success and spoke highly of the entire operation.:149:23
Rumors among family membersEditEarly on Sunday morning at the Vidyaevo Naval Base, rumours began to circulate among family members of the Kursk's crew that something was wrong. A telephone operator handled an unusual volume of calls and she overheard that a submarine was in trouble and then the submarine's name. The base was very small and news spread quickly. The wives and family members exchanged information, but nobody had the same news. The Kursk had previously been regarded as unsinkable and so family members could not believe the worst of the rumours. They hoped that the submarine was just temporarily unable to communicate. The deputy base commander reassured the women that the headquarters office was half empty and otherwise full of officers "passing the time.":87
Foreign assistance refusedEditOn the afternoon of the explosion, even before the Kremlin had been informed of the submarine's sinking, U.S. National Security Adviser Sandy Berger and Defense Secretary William Cohen were told that the Kursk had sunk. Once officially informed, the British government, along with France, Germany, Israel, Italy, and Norway offered help, and the United States offered the use of one of its two deep submergence rescue vehicles, but the Russian government refused all foreign assistance. Minister of Defence Igor Sergeyev told the American Embassy that the rescue was well under way.:152 The Russian Navy told reporters that a rescue was imminent.
Russian rescue efforts falterEditAt 04:50 on Sunday, personnel aboard the Petr Velikiy found two anomalies on the seabed. At 09:00 the Rudnitsky arrived at the location. While setting anchor, its crew interpreted an acoustic sound as an SOS from the submarine, but Captain Toslenko commanding the Rudnitsky concluded this was produced by the anchor chain striking the anchor hole. At 11:30 on Sunday, August 13, the crew of the Rudnitsky began preparing to lower the AS-34, which entered the water at 17:30. At 18:30, at a depth of 100 metres (330 ft) and at a speed of 2 knots (3.7 km/h; 2.3 mph), the AS-34 reported colliding with an object, and through a porthole the crew reported seeing a propeller and stern stabiliser. The AS-34 was damaged and surfaced, so the crew of the Rudnitsky began preparing the AS-32 for operations.
At 22:40, the AS-32 entered the water and began searching for the Kursk but was given an incorrect heading by personnel aboard the Petr Velikiy and was unable to locate the submarine. Crew aboard the Rudnitsky tried to contact the Kursk and briefly thought they heard an acoustic SOS signal, but this was determined to be of biological origin. They reported the sounds to the Petr Velikiy. The AS-32 returned to the surface at 01:00 on Monday morning, 14 August.
The salvage tug Nikolay Chiker (SB 131) arrived early in the rescue operation. It used its deep water camera equipment to obtain the first images of the wrecked submarine. Video camera pictures showed severe damage from the sub's bow to its conning tower. They also revealed that the Kursk was listing at a 60 degree angle and down 5''7 degrees by the bow. The bow had ploughed about 22 metres (72 ft) deep into the clay seabed, at a depth of 108 metres (354 ft). The periscope was raised, indicating that the accident occurred at a depth of less than 20 metres (66 ft).
The AS-34 was repaired and was launched at 05:00 on Monday. At 06:50, the AS-34 located the Kursk and attempted to attach to the aft escape trunk over the Kursk's ninth compartment, but its batteries were depleted and the crew was forced to surface to recharge the batteries. Winds increased, blowing 10''12 m/s to 15''27 m/s (22''38 mph), and the waves rose to 3''4 points (4''8 feet), forcing the Russians to suspend rescue operations.
First official announcementEditThe first official announcement of the accident was made by the Russians on Monday, 14 August. They told the media that the Kursk had experienced "minor technical difficulties" on Sunday. They stated that the submarine had "descended to the ocean floor", that they had established contact with the crew, were pumping air and power to the ship, and that "everyone on board is alive." The BBC reported that the Kursk crew "had been forced to ground" the submarine because it "[had] broken down during exercises" but rescue crews were "in radio contact with surface vessels."
Collision initially blamedEditSenior officers in the Russian Navy offered a variety of explanations for the accident. Four days after the Kursk sank, Russian Navy Commander-in-Chief and Fleet Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov stated the accident had been caused by a serious collision. Klebanov said the submarine may have hit an old World War II mine. He also said that almost all of the sailors had died before the vessel hit bottom.
The Russian government convened a commission, chaired by vice-premier Ilya Klebanov, on 14 August, four days after the Kursk sank. Nearly half of the commission members were officials with a stake in the outcome of the investigation, and independent investigators were not invited to take part, giving the appearance that their findings might not be impartial.:32
Weather delays effortsEditBad weather, 3.7 metres (12 ft) waves, strong undersea currents, and limited visibility impaired the rescue crews' ability to conduct operations on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Tuesday the Rudnitsky lowered a diving bell twice but were unable to connect to the sub. They then tried and failed to manoeuvre a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) onto the rescue hatch.
At 20:00 Tuesday, AS-34 was launched again but was damaged when it struck a boom as it was being lowered into the sea. It was brought back aboard, repaired, and relaunched at 21:10. On Tuesday, August 15, three days after the sinking, the crane ship PK-7500 arrived with the more manoeuvrable Project 18270 Bester-type DSRV (AC-36). But the weather prevented the PK-7500 from launching the DSRV, and the rescue team decided to launch the submersible near the coast and tow it to the rescue site with a salvage tug.
On Wednesday, 16 August, at 00:20, AS-34 attempted to attach to the ninth compartment escape hatch twice but was unsuccessful. It surfaced and as it was being lifted onto the deck its propulsion system was seriously damaged. The crew of the Rudnitsky elected to cannibalise the AS-32 to repair the AS-34. Rescue operations were suspended while the repairs were made. The PK-7500 arrived from the coast where it had launched its DSRV. It repeatedly lowered the rescue vessel 110 metres (360 ft) to the submarine but it was unable to latch onto an escape hatch. One of the rescue capsules was damaged by the storm.
On Thursday at 12:00, Popov reported to the General Staff of the Navy that there had not been an explosion aboard the Kursk, the sub was intact on the seafloor, and that an "external influence" may have caused a leak between the first and second compartment. On Thursday the Russian Priz DSRV made another attempt to reach the aft area of the submarine but was unable to create the vacuum seal necessary to attach to the escape trunk. Western media criticised the Russian's 32-hour response time, however the standard for deploying a recovery vessel in 2000 was 72 hours.
The rescue ship Altay attempted to attach a Kolokol diving bell to the sub but was unsuccessful. Russian Navy Headquarters in Moscow told media that rescuers had heard tapping from within the ship's hull, spelling "SOS ... water", although the possibility of hearing tapping through the double hull was later discounted, and other reports said the sounds had been misinterpreted or even made up.
Rescue divers did not attempt to tap on the hull to signal potential survivors acoustically.
Fragments of both the outer and inner hulls were found nearby, including a piece of Kursk's nose weighing 5 metric tons (4.9 long tons; 5.5 short tons), indicating a large explosion in the forward torpedo room.
The British deep submersible rescue vehicle LR5.British and Norwegian helpEditPrivate media and state-owned Russian newspapers criticised the navy's refusal to accept international assistance. Five days after the accident on 17 August 2000, President Putin accepted the British and Norwegian governments' offer of assistance. Six teams of British and Norwegian divers arrived on Friday, 18 August. The Russian 328th Expeditionary rescue squad, part of the Navy's office of Search and Rescue, also provided divers. On 19 August at 20:00, the Norwegian ship Normand Pioneer arrived with the British rescue submarine LR5 on board, seven days after the disaster.
On Sunday 20 August, the Norwegians lowered a ROV to the submarine. They found that the first 18 metres (59 ft) of the ship had been destroyed by the explosions. The entire bow of the ship was a mass of twisted metal and debris.
Russian Navy officials imposed specific constraints that restricted the Norwegians divers to work on the stern of the ship, specifically the escape hatch over compartment nine and an air control valve connected to the rescue trunk. The Norwegian deep-sea divers protested against the restrictions which they felt impeded their rescue operations.
When the divers attempted to open the air control valve, it would not move. Russian experts on one of the most technologically advanced submarines in the Russian fleet told the divers that they must open the valve counter-clockwise or they would break it. The divers finally went against the experts' advice and tried turning it clockwise, which worked.
The divers tried to use the arms of the ROV to open the hatch but were unsuccessful until the morning of Monday, 21 August, when they found the rescue trunk full of water. That morning, they used a custom tool to open the internal hatch of the rescue trunk, releasing a large volume of air from the ninth compartment. Divers lowered a video camera on a rod into the compartment and found several bodies.
The salvage companies agreed that the Norwegian divers would cut the holes in the hull but only Russian divers would enter the submarine. The Norwegian divers cut a hole in the hull of the eighth compartment to gain access, using a cutting machine that shoots a high-velocity water-and-cutting-grit mix at 15,000 pounds per square inch (100,000 kPa) pressure. The Russian divers entered the wreck and opened a bulkhead hatch to compartment nine.
They found that dust and ashes inside compartment nine severely restricted visibility. As they gradually worked their way inside the compartment and down two levels, Warrant Officer Sergei Shmygin found the remains of Captain-lieutenant Dmitry Kolesnikov. All of the casualties had clearly been badly burned. The divers cut additional holes in the hull over the third and fourth compartments. The Russian divers removed secret documents and eventually recovered a total of 12 bodies from the ninth compartment. This contradicted earlier statements made by senior Russian officials that all of the submariners had died before the submarine hit the bottom. They also found the ship's log, but then had to suspend work because of severe winter weather. The rescue teams conducted ongoing measurements of radiation levels inside and outside the submarine but none of the readings exceeded normal ranges.
On 21 August, the Chief of Staff of the Russian Northern Fleet, Mikhail Motsak, announced to the public that the Kursk was flooded and the crew was dead. Additional plans were made to continue to remove the bodies, but the Russian Navy could not agree on a contract with a foreign company, and the families of those who died on the submarine protested that they did not want additional lives put at risk to bring up the dead.
After the Norwegian divers confirmed that no one was alive in the ninth compartment, Vice Admiral Mikhail Motsak, chief-of-staff of the Northern Fleet, officially confirmed at 5 p.m. on 21 August, nine days after it sank, that all of the Kursk's crewmembers had died. On 22 August, President Putin issued an executive order declaring 23 August a day of mourning.
Claim of collision with NATO submarineEditOn Monday 14 August, Fleet Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov stated the accident had been caused by a serious collision with a NATO submarine, although he gave no evidence to support his statement. Senior commanders of the Russian Navy repeated this story for more than two years after the disaster. Conservative and right-wing politicians, along with many who wanted to sustain negative relations between Russia and the West, supported this scenario.
During the exercise, the Russians required each of their submarines to stay within a specified area. This was designed to eliminate the possibility of a collision and to allow surface ships to detect the presence of a Western spy sub.
On 29 or 30 August 2000, an official government commission tasked with investigating the disaster announced that the likely cause of the sinking was a "strong 'dynamic external impact' corresponding with the 'first event'", probably a collision with a foreign submarine or a large surface ship, or striking a World War II mine. They cited that the exercise had been monitored by two AmericanLos Angeles-class submarines'--USS Memphis and Toledo'--and the Royal NavySwiftsure class submarineHMS Splendid. When the exercise was cancelled due to the accident, they put in at European ports.
Size and mass comparison of the Kursk and the USS Toledo, which is less than half of the Kursk's displacementUnited States Secretary of DefenseWilliam S. Cohen responded to Russian accusations of a collision with a submarine at a press conference in Tokyo on 22 September 2000.
Q: Russians are suggesting that one of the possible reasons is a collision with a NATO or American submarine, they are asking to let them, well, have a look at a couple of United States submarines and the answer from the American side is no; so I ask, why not? And what is your own explanation of that particular accident. Thank you.
A: I know that all our ships are operational and could not possibly have been involved in any kind of contact with the Russian submarine. So frankly, there is no need for inspections, since ours are completely operational, there was no contact whatsoever with the Kursk.
While the official inquiry was still under way, on 25 October 2000, Commander of the Northern Fleet Popov and his Chief of Staff Motsak were interviewed by the Spanish newspaper El Mundo. They repeated the theory that the Kursk collided with a NATO submarine shadowing the exercise. Fleet Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov stated once again on 25 October that he was 80 percent certain the accident was caused by a collision with a foreign submarine.:22 There had been 11 collisions between submarines in the Barents Sea since 1967, and the Russian navy produced video footage of the wreck that they claimed showed evidence that this too was a collision.
On 5 November, a representative of the Northern Fleet General Staff told the Russian NTV television station that the sinking was caused by a collision, and Motsak repeated this assertion on 17 November in an interview with the Russian newspaper Izvestia. They insisted that an American submarine was closely shadowing the Kursk and had caused the collision by negligently getting too close. The Russian Navy produced satellite imagery of the U.S. submarine Memphis docked at a Norwegian naval base in Bergen just after the alleged collision and claimed this proved the submarine had surfaced for repairs, but the authenticity of the photos was never proven.
But geophysicists who analysed the seismic signals concluded that the initial sound recorded was triggered by an explosion and not a collision with another vessel. The seismic waveforms of the second event, known to be from the explosion of several torpedo warheads, also generated a high-frequency bubble signature characteristic of an underwater explosion of approximately 3''7 tons of TNT. When they compared the second event with the first, they concluded that the first event was also the explosion of a torpedo. Britain's Blacknest seismic monitoring station, which studies seismic signals generated by underground nuclear explosions and earthquakes, identified two distinct explosions. They determined that the two shockwaves were a perfect match and consistent with a torpedo explosion.
Criticism of government responseEditWhile the rescue crews repeatedly failed to attach to the rescue trunk and to contact potential survivors aboard the submarine, President Putin was shown enjoying himself in casual dress on a summer holiday at a villa on the Black Sea. His seeming indifference outraged the families of the Kursk sailors and many other Russians.
''For President Vladimir Putin, the Kursk crisis was not merely a human tragedy, it was a personal PR catastrophe. Twenty-four hours after the submarine's disappearance, as Russian naval officials made bleak calculations about the chances of the 118 men on board, Putin was filmed enjoying himself, shirtsleeves rolled up, hosting a barbecue at his holiday villa on the Black Sea."'''--'Amelia Gentleman, Fire down below, The GuardianThe Russian media was extremely critical of the government's handling of the sinking. Images of angry family members demanding information or waiting anxiously at the dock for news were shown on media worldwide. Some relatives said they only learned of the disaster from the public media:108 or from conflicting rumours circulating on the navy base.:87 They complained they did not receive any information from the government on the status of the disaster or rescue efforts until Wednesday, five days after the sinking. Some could not even confirm whether their family members were among the crew on board the ship. The government refused to release a list of the missing sailors even to the families of those aboard until a Pravda reporter paid an officer
18,000 rubles for the list. Even then, the government tried to prohibit reporters from contacting family members.:37
The continued problems the rescuers had reaching survivors and ongoing conflicting information about the cause of the incident inflamed Russian public opinion. Media described the Russian government's response to the disaster as "technically inept" and their stories as "totally unreliable".
Putin meets with familiesEdit
President Putin met with relatives of the dead sailors in Vidyayevo in a contentious meeting during which the families complained about the Russian Navy's response to the disaster.President Putin had been advised by the military from the start of the disaster that they had the situation under control and that he did not need to intervene. He was told that there was a strong possibility that a foreign vessel had caused the accident and that Russia should not accept help from foreign powers.:154 Only four months into his tenure as President, the public and media were extremely critical of Putin's decision to remain at a seaside resort, and his highly favourable ratings dropped dramatically. The President's response appeared callous and the government's actions looked incompetent.
On Tuesday, 22 August, 10 days after the sinking, Putin met at 8 p.m. in the Vidyayevo navy base officers' club and cultural centre with about 400''600:154:105 angry and grief-filled residents of the navy base and about 350 family members of the Kursk's crew.:107 The meeting was closed and access was tightly controlled. Two Russian journalists from Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Kommersant, who posed as family members, witnessed hysterical widows and mothers howling at Putin, demanding to know why they were receiving so much conflicting information and who was going to be punished for the deaths of their family members. "Do you believe our men are still alive?" "Why have you murdered our lads?" "When would the bodies of the submariners be brought home?" "When will we get them back, dead or alive?" "Who are you going to punish for their deaths, and how?":107 The hostile, contentious meeting lasted for three to six hours.
German television channel RTL provided the Russian national daily newspaper Kommersant with an unedited transcript.:155 The transcript revealed that Putin told the families that Admiral of the Fleet Vladimir Kuroyedov had agreed to accept foreign assistance as soon as it was offered on Wednesday, 16 August, but he was shouted down as soon as he offered this explanation. The family members knew from media reports that foreign assistance had been offered on Monday.:108 Up to this point, family members had received
1000 rubles (about USD$37 in 2000) in compensation, and Putin offered the families additional compensation equivalent to ten years' salary, about USD$7,000 in 2000.:108
Mother forcibly sedatedEditThe Russian state channel RTR was the only media granted access. They broadcast a heavily edited version of the meeting that only showed the president speaking, eliminating many emotional and contentious encounters between the President and family members. Their single TV camera fed its signal to a satellite truck on loan to RTR from the German TV Company RTL, and RTL recorded the entire event.:155 Two Russian journalists from Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Kommersant, who posed as family members, witnessed hysterical widows and mothers howling at Putin, demanding to know why they were receiving so much conflicting information and who was going to be punished for the deaths of their family members. During the meeting, Nadezhda Tylik, the mother of Kursk submariner Lt. Sergei Tylik, was extremely emotional and interrupted the meeting. She harangued Putin and Deputy Prime Minister Klebanov, accusing them of lying to the family members. She told them, "You better shoot yourselves now! We won't let you live bastards!" When she would not be quiet, a nurse in civilian apparel behind her forcibly injected her through her clothing with a sedative. She shortly thereafter lost the ability to speak and was carried out. Immediately after his wife was given the injection, Tylik's husband said he had asked the woman to give his wife the drug "because she was prone to excessive emotions." Four months later she revealed that her husband had lied about the injection to the public to "save my nerves" and that he, in fact, "did not ask for help." Tylik later stated, "The injection was done to shut my mouth. Immediately after it I just lost the ability to speak and was carried out."
The whole scene was captured by the TV crew, although it was not televised within Russia. The rest of the world was able to see officials remove her from the meeting.:36 Tylik later criticised President Putin because he "did not answer direct questions" at the meeting. "Maybe he did not know what to say. But we did not receive concrete answers to concrete questions," she said. Tylik told the St. Petersburg Times that she will go to any lengths to learn the truth about the submarine disaster "They told us lies the whole time, and even now we are unable to get any information," she said.
The sedation concerned people in Russia as well as the West that the former Soviet Union was returning to its Cold War-era methods of silencing dissent. Tylik said that he had told her six days before the disaster that the submarine had " 'death onboard,' but he didn't explain what he meant." "I am sure that the commanders of the Northern Fleet knew that the torpedoes were not in order. Those who are guilty must be punished. Navy officials in Vidyayevo later confirmed to The Times and to The St. Petersburg Times that she was given a sedative. "We've been giving sedatives to relatives since this began, and it is not such a big deal as you make it out to be in the West," said an officer who would not identify himself. "We are simply protecting the relatives from undue pain '' it was for her own protection."
Journalist Andrey Kolesnikov, who had been present at Putin's meeting with the families, described his experience in a 2015 documentary titled President. He said when he watched Putin talk to the families, he had never felt such an intense atmosphere of pain and anger in his entire life.
I honestly thought they would tear him apart ... There was such a heavy atmosphere there, such a clot of hatred, and despair, and pain ... I never felt anything like it anywhere in my entire life ... All the questions were aimed at this single man ...
Putin blames mediaEditIn response to the avalanche of criticism, Minister of Defence Sergeyev and senior commanders of the Navy and the Northern Fleet offered Putin their resignations, but he refused to accept them.:160
Lashing back at the press who had been severely critical of his personal response and the entire government's handling of a national tragedy, Putin attacked the messengers. During the meeting with the crew's relatives, he loudly blamed the oligarchs, who owned most of the country's non-government media, for the poor state of Russia's military. Putin told the family members, "There are people in television today who ... over the last 10 years destroyed the very army and fleet where people are dying now ... They stole money, they bought the media, and they're manipulating public opinion." When relatives asked why the government had waited so long before accepting foreign assistance, Putin said the media had lied. He shouted to the assembled families, "They're lying. They're lying. They're lying." Putin threatened to punish the media owners and counter their influence through alternative "honest and objective" media. He scornfully derided their ownership of property abroad. "They'd better sell their villas on the Mediterranean coast of France or Spain. Then they might have to explain why all this property is registered in false names under front law-firms. Perhaps we would ask them where they got the money."
In a speech to the Russian people the day after his meeting with the families, Putin continued his furious attack on the Russian media, accusing them of lying and discrediting the country. He said they were trying to "exploit this misfortune ... to gain political capital."
Family compensation announcedEditOn the same day as Putin's broadcast, Deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matviyenko, head of a special commission, announced that the families of the Kursk sailors would receive not only 10 years' salary, but free housing in the Russian city of their choice, free college education for their children, and free counselling.:114 With the addition of other donations received from across the world, the families received about USD$35,000 in payments, a relative fortune.:114
Official inquiry resultsEditOn July 26, 2002, almost two years later, the government commission and Russia's Prosecutor General, Vladimir Ustinov, announced that the hydrogen peroxide fuel in the dummy torpedo inside the fourth torpedo launcher set off the initial explosion that sank the Kursk.
Secret reportEditUstinov released a 133-volume top-secret report in August 2002, two years after the disaster. The government published a four-page summary in Rossiyskaya Gazeta that revealed "stunning breaches of discipline, shoddy, obsolete and poorly maintained equipment," and "negligence, incompetence, and mismanagement." The report said the rescue operation was unjustifiably delayed.
Initial blast damageEditThe bulkhead between the first and second compartment was penetrated by a circular 47-centimetre (19 in) air conditioning duct. The bulkhead should have arrested the blast wave, but in keeping with common Russian submarine practice, the pressurised valve in the ventilation system that pierced the bulkhead was left open to minimise the change in pressure during a weapon's launch. The initial blast set off a fire that was later estimated to have burned at 2,700 °C (4,890 °F). The government report concluded that the initial explosion and fire in the torpedo room compartment immediately killed everyone within.
The open valve in the ventilation system allowed the huge blast wave and possibly the fire and toxic smoke to enter the second and perhaps the third and fourth compartments as well. All of the 36 men in the command post located in the second compartment were immediately incapacitated by the blast wave and likely killed. One sailor's body was found embedded in the ceiling of the second compartment. Although the sub was at periscope depth with her radio antennas extended, no one in the command post was able to send a distress signal or press a single button that would initiate an emergency ballast tank blow and bring the submarine to the surface.
Secondary explosionEditTwo minutes and 14 seconds after the first explosion in the torpedo compartment, the fire set off a second explosion of 5''7 combat-ready torpedo warheads. Acoustic data from Pyotr Velikiy was later analysed and found to indicate an explosion of about 7 torpedo warheads in rapid succession. A single Type 65 "Kit" torpedo carries a large 450-kilogram (990 lb).
While the sub was submerged, 78 crew were normally assigned to the first four compartments and 49 to the rear five compartments.:3 Although the Kursk was designed to withstand external pressure of depths of up to 1,000 metres (3,300 ft), the second internal explosion tore a 2-square-metre (22 sq ft) hole in the ship's hull, opening the first through fourth compartments to the sea. Water poured in at 90,000 litres (3,200 cu ft) per second. The explosion collapsed the first three compartments and all of the decks. In addition to the crew in those compartments, there were five officers from 7th SSGN Division Headquarters and two design engineers on board to observe the performance of a new battery in the USET-80 torpedo, set to be launched second. Anyone who remained alive in those compartments was killed by the second explosion.
Practice torpedo blamedEditThe government report confirmed that the Kursk had been sunk by a torpedo explosion caused when high-test peroxide (HTP), a form of highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide, leaked from cracks in the torpedo's casing.
HTP is normally stable until it comes in contact with a catalyst. It then expands 5000 times in volume extremely rapidly, acting as an oxidiser, generating large volumes of steam and oxygen. The oxygen is combined with kerosene fuel in the torpedo engine to propel the missile at a very high speed and greater range than conventional torpedoes.:34 Investigators concluded that the leaking HTP had catalytically decomposed when it came in contact with copper commonly found in the bronze and brass used to manufacture the Kursk's torpedo tubes. The resulting overpressure ruptured the torpedo's kerosene fuel tank and caused an explosion that was registered as a weak seismic event on detectors hundreds of kilometres away. Once the HTP begins oxidizing, it is impossible to stop until the fuel is exhausted.
Analysis revealed that when the 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lb) of concentrated high-test peroxide and 500 kilograms (1,100 lb) of kerosene exploded, the internal torpedo tube cover and the external tube door were blown off, opening the torpedo room to the sea. Salvage crews located a piece of the number four torpedo hatch on the seabed 50 metres (160 ft) behind the main wreckage. Its position, distance, and direction relative to the rest of the submarine indicated that it was deposited there as a result of the first explosion in that tube.
The fuel in the torpedoes carried by the Kursk was inexpensive and very powerful. Torpedoes using HTP had been in use since the 1950s, but other navies stopped using them because of the danger inherent in their design.HMS Sidon sank in 1955, killing 13 sailors, when an experimental torpedo containing HTP exploded as it was being loaded.
According to an article that briefly appeared on Thursday 17 August 2000 on the website of the official newspaper of the Russian Defence Ministry, Krasnaya Zvezda, the Kursk had been refitted in 1998'--four years after it was commissioned'--to carry torpedoes fueled using the cheap HTP. The article reported that some specialists in the Russian Navy opposed use of the HTP-fueled torpedoes because they were volatile and dangerous. The story did not appear in the print edition on Friday 18 August. Instead, the article was replaced with another that speculated the submarine had collided with an "unidentified object". The change was likely due to political pressure.:23 Vice-premier Ilya Klebanov, chair of the government commission investigating the accident, had a vested interest in suggesting the disaster had been caused by a collision with a NATO vessel. As head of the defence industries, over the objections of some officers, he had promoted use of the liquid-fueled torpedoes over safer, more-expensive silver-zinc battery-powered torpedoes.:23
Faulty weld identifiedEditThe government's final report found that the officers who had issued the order approving use of the HTP torpedoes did not have the authority to issue that order. The dummy torpedo was 10 years old and some of its parts had exceeded their service life. Several sources said that one of the practice torpedoes had been dropped during transport, possibly leading to a crack in the casing, but that the weapon was put aboard the submarine anyway.:23 The crane that would normally have been used to load the missiles was, as usual, out of order, and another had to be brought in, delaying the loading process. This also made the possibility of removing a damaged torpedo more difficult.:23
Personnel who had loaded the practice torpedoes the day before the exercise noticed that the rubber seals were leaking fuel and notified junior officers of the issue, but they took no action because the exercise was so important to the Russian Navy. Even though the leaks on the dummy torpedoes were detected, the rubber seals were not inspected before the exercise.:35 The crew was also supposed to follow a very strict procedure while preparing the practice HTP torpedo for firing.
Maintenance records revealed that the 65''76 "Kit" practice torpedo carried by the Kursk came from a batch of 10 manufactured in 1990, six of which were rejected due to faulty welding. An investigation revealed that because the torpedoes were not intended to carry warheads, the welds had not been inspected as carefully as welds on torpedoes carrying warheads. When salvage crews finally recovered the remains of the torpedo and the launch tube, analysis determined that both bore signs of distortion and heat damage that were consistent with an explosion near the middle of the torpedo, very close to an essential welded joint. The official conclusion of the commission was that a faulty weld had led to the explosion.
Escape capsule inaccessibleEditIn an emergency, personnel in the rear compartments were to move forward to the third compartment along with those in the forward compartments and enter a detachable rescue capsule in the sail (or conning tower), which was capable of evacuating the entire crew. Alternatively, there was also an escape trunk in the first compartment, but the explosion and fire rendered any possible use of it impossible. The rescue capsule in the third compartment was inaccessible if it was still usable.
Nuclear reactors shutdownEditThe fifth compartment that contained the ship's two nuclear reactors was built to withstand larger forces than other interior bulkheads. Like the exterior hull, these bulkheads were designed to withstand pressure up to depths of 1,000 metres (3,300 ft). The reactors were additionally encased in 13 centimetres (5.1 in) of steel and resiliently mounted to absorb shocks in excess of 50g. The bulkheads of the fifth compartment withstood both explosions, allowing the two reactors to automatically shut down and prevent a nuclear meltdown and widespread contamination of the sea.
Later forensic examination of two of the reactor control room casualties showed extensive skeletal injuries which indicated that they had sustained explosive force of over 50g during the explosions. These shocks would have immediately incapacitated or killed the operators and possibly other sailors further aft.
Rescue buoy failedEditThe Kursk was equipped with an emergency rescue buoy on top of compartment seven that was designed to automatically deploy when it detected any of a variety of emergency conditions like a fire or a rapid pressure change. It was intended to float to the surface and send a signal that would help rescuers locate the stricken vessel. Some reports said that the buoy had repeatedly malfunctioned and had been welded in place. In fact, investigators learned that the Kursk had been deployed to the Mediterranean during the summer of 1999 to monitor the U.S. fleet responding to the Kosovo War. Russian navy officers feared that the buoy might accidentally deploy, revealing the submarine's position to the U.S. fleet. They ordered the buoy to be disabled and it was still inoperative when the sub sank.
No blame assignedEditDespite the many lapses in procedures and equipment, Ustinov said no charges would be filed because the disaster was caused by a technical malfunction and blame could not be placed on specific individuals. He said that all of the sailors had died within eight hours and none of them could have been rescued in the time available. At a news conference announcing the end of the official inquiry, he absolved the torpedo's manufacturer of any fault. "Those who designed the torpedo couldn't foresee the possibility of its explosion." He also said there was no evidence that the torpedo had been damaged when it was loaded onto the Kursk.
When Ustinov closed the criminal case without filing charges, family members were angry. Retired Russian navy Captain Vladimir Mityayev lost a son on the Kursk. He said, "To me, this is a clear case of negligence." In the end, no one was to blame for the disaster and no one was held responsible.:34
Alternative explanationsEditWhile the official government commission blamed the explosion on a faulty weld in the practice torpedo, Vice-Admiral Valery Ryazantsev cited inadequate training, poor maintenance, and incomplete inspections that caused the crew to mishandle the weapon. The internal tube door was designed to be three times as strong as the external torpedo door, so that any explosion inside the tube would be directed out into the sea. Salvage crews eventually found the internal tube cover embedded in a bulkhead 12 metres (39 ft) from the tube. This led investigators to conclude that it was likely that the internal door was not fully closed when the explosion occurred.
It was known that the electrical connectors between the torpedoes and the internal tube door were unreliable and often required the torpedo crews to open and re-close the door to clean the connection before an electrical contact could be established. The Kursk's crew had not fired a torpedo for three years, and that torpedo was a much simpler battery-powered type. The crew had to complete specific maintenance steps on a regular basis and before firing a torpedo. This included cleaning the torpedo tube of lubricants, metal shavings, and dust that accumulate during long periods of inactivity.
After the accident, investigators recovered a partially burned copy of the safety instructions for loading HTP torpedoes, but the instructions were for a significantly different type of torpedo and failed to include essential steps for testing an air valve. The 7th Division, 1st Submarine Flotilla never inspected the Kursks's crew's qualifications and readiness to fire HTP torpedoes. The Kursk's crew had no prior experience with and had not been trained in handling or firing HTP-powered torpedoes. Ryazantsev believed that due to their inexperience and lack of training, compounded by incomplete inspections and oversight, and because the Kursk's crew followed faulty instructions when loading the practice torpedo, they set off a chain of events that led to the explosion.:35 Ryazantsev asserted that signatures on the records documenting that the sailors had been trained in handling and firing HTP torpedoes had been faked. He stated that the warhead fuses on combat torpedoes 1, 3, 5, and 6 were set off when the first compartment collapsed after striking the sea bottom.
Accusations of cover-upEditThe Communist newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda published a report in June 2001 that senior officers in the Russian Navy had engaged in an elaborate deception to cover the actual cause of the disaster. This referred to statements that the ship's captain, Gennady Lyachin, had sent a message to headquarters immediately prior to the explosion, "We have a malfunctioning torpedo. Request permission to fire it," though it is unlikely as captain of the vessel that he would have requested permission under such circumstances.
The Russian Navy was later criticised as misrepresenting facts and misleading the public.:148 The navy feared that if it was revealed that the submarine blew up because of crew incompetence, Russia's status as a great power would be in doubt.:22 Their response was compared to the Soviet style of cover up and stonewalling like that during the Chernobyl disaster.:148 Minister of Defence Sergeyev said in interviews on March 21, 2000, that he had never refused any foreign help.:148
The Guardian wrote in a 2002 review of two books, Kursk, Russia's Lost Pride and A Time to Die: The Kursk Disaster:
The hopelessly flawed rescue attempt, hampered by badly designed and decrepit equipment, illustrated the fatal decline of Russia's military power. The navy's callous approach to the families of the missing men was reminiscent of an earlier Soviet insensitivity to individual misery. The lies and incompetent cover-up attempts launched by both the navy and the government were resurrected from a pre-Glasnost era. The wildly contradictory conspiracy theories about what caused the catastrophe said more about a naval high command in turmoil, fumbling for a scapegoat, than about the accident itself.
Conspiracy theoriesEditWhile most experts agreed that a torpedo had exploded, they differed on what caused the explosion. Many Russians did not believe that the Kursk could be so easily sunk. The tragedy spawned a number of wild conspiracy theories to explain the disaster. One theory offered was an explosion located in the high-pressure air tanks used to blow the ballast tanks, located near the torpedo tubes. Mainstream publications like Der Spiegel, Berliner Zeitung, and the Sunday Times claimed to possess documentation proving that the submarine was struck by a missile fired by the Pyotr Velikiy.:33 This was the largest naval exercise that the Russian navy had conducted in more than a decade, which increased the chances of a friendly fire incident. Other theories included Chechenespionage, human error, sabotage, and that the Kursk was testing a new top-secret torpedo, Shkval (Squall), capable of speeds in excess of 200 knots (370 km/h; 230 mph), for which the Western navies have no defence. Another theory was that the USS Memphis had fired a torpedo at the Kursk.
Manufacturer disagrees on causeEditThe director of the Gidropribor Research Institute (ru) that designed the torpedo, Stanislav Proshkin, challenged the conclusion of the government's official report. He said the weapon could only have exploded after an external event like a fire. He said that the torpedoes are routinely tested during manufacturing and are dropped from a height of 10 metres (33 ft) without causing damage that could lead to an explosion. He also said the Kursk was designed with two autonomous, independent control systems that would have detected a rise in temperature while the torpedo was stored on the racks. The sub was equipped with a special drain system that could rapidly drain hydrogen peroxide fuel from a torpedo into the sea. If a temperature rise was detected in the torpedo tube, the torpedo would have automatically been ejected into the sea. In addition, any fire in the torpedo compartment would have triggered a powerful fire-extinguishing system that would have dumped "tons of water" on the fire.
Survivors in aft compartmentEdit
A portion of a note written by Captain-lieutenant Dmitri Kolesnikov, found on his body in the ninth compartmentThere were 24 men assigned to compartments six through nine towards the rear of the ship. Of that number, 23 survived the two blasts and gathered in the ninth compartment, which had an escape hatch.Captain-lieutenant Dmitri Kolesnikov, head of the turbine in the seventh department, and one of three surviving officers of that rank, apparently took charge.
Kolesnikov wrote two notes, parts of which were released by Vice Admiral Motsak to the media for the first time on 27 October 2000. The first, written at 13:15, 1 hour and 45 minutes after the second explosion, contained a private note to his family and, on the reverse, information on their situation and the names of those in the ninth compartment. The handwriting appears normal, indicating the sailors still had some light.
It's 13:15. All personnel from section six, seven, and eight have moved to section nine, there are 23 people here. We feel bad, weakened by carbon dioxide ... Pressure is increasing in the compartment. If we head for the surface we won't survive the compression. We won't last more than a day. ... All personnel from sections six, seven, and eight have moved to section nine. We have made the decision because none of us can escape.
Kolesnikov wrote the second note at 15:15. His writing was extremely difficult to read.
It's dark here to write, but I'll try by feel. It seems like there are no chances, 10''20%. Let's hope that at least someone will read this. Here's the list of personnel from the other sections, who are now in the ninth and will attempt to get out. Regards to everybody, no need to despair. Kolesnikov.
The newspaper Izvestia reported on 26 February 2001 that another note, written by Lt. Cmdr. Rashid Aryapov, had been recovered during the initial rescue operation.:22 Aryapov held a senior position in the sixth compartment. The note was written on the page of a detective novel and wrapped in plastic. It was found in a pocket of his clothing after his body was recovered.
Izvestia quoted unidentified naval officers who claimed that Aryapov wrote that the explosion was caused by "faults in the torpedo compartment, namely, the explosion of a torpedo on which the Kursk had to carry out tests". Izvestia also stated that Aryapov wrote that as a result of the explosions the submarine was tossed violently about, and many crew members were injured by equipment that tore loose as a result. To the Russian public, it appeared that the Russian Navy was covering up its inability to rescue the trapped sailors.
Escape hatch unusedEditAnalysis of the wreck could not determine whether the escape hatch was workable from the inside. Analysts theorise that the men may have rejected risking the escape hatch even if it were operable, and would have preferred to wait for a submarine rescue ship to attach itself to the hatch. The sub was relatively close to shore and in the middle of a large naval exercise. The sailors had every reason to believe that rescue would arrive quickly.:90''92 Using the escape trunk was risky. The sailors were in a compartment that was initially at surface atmosphere pressure, so they did not risk decompression sickness ('the bends') if they used the rescue hoods to ascend to the surface. But the Arctic water was extremely cold and they could not survive long in the water. Also, water was slowly seeping into the ninth compartment, increasing the atmospheric pressure and thus the risk of decompression sickness and death when they ascended to the surface. In addition it was likely that some of the men were seriously injured and escape would have been very difficult for them.:88''92
When the nuclear reactors automatically shut down, the air purification system would have shut down, emergency power would be limited, and the crew would soon have been in complete darkness and experienced falling temperatures.:88''92
Death of survivorsEditThe official investigation into the disaster discovered that a large number of potassium superoxidechemical cartridges, used to absorb carbon dioxide and chemically release oxygen to enable survival, were found in the ninth compartment. But the level of carbon monoxide in the compartment exceeded what people can produce in a closed space. Divers found ash and dust inside the compartment when they first opened that hatch, evidence of a fire. But this fire was separate from that caused by the exploding torpedo. This and other evidence found in the salvaged wreck suggested that the crew were killed when they accidentally dropped one of the chemical superoxide cartridges into the seawater slowly filling the compartment.:143''145 When the cartridge came in contact with the oily sea water, it triggered a chemical reaction and flash fire. The investigation showed that some men temporarily survived this fire by plunging under water, as fire marks on the bulkheads indicated the water was at waist level at the time. Captain-Lieutenant Kolesnikov's body was badly burned from below the waist up, and his head and neck were severely disfigured by severe burns.:143 The fire consumed all remaining oxygen, so that the remaining survivors all died, of burns, asphyxiation, or carbon monoxide poisoning.
There was considerable debate over how long the sailors survived. Russian military officers initially gave conflicting accounts, that survivors could have lived up to a week within the sub, but those that died would have been killed very quickly. The Dutch recovery team reported that they thought the men in the least affected ninth compartment might have survived for two to three hours. Kolesnikov wrote his last note at 15:15, indicating that he lived almost four hours after the explosion. Other notes recovered later show that some sailors in the ninth compartment were alive at least 6 hours and 17 minutes after the ship sank. Vice Admiral Vladislav Ilyin, first deputy chief of the Russian Navy's staff and head of the Kursk Naval Incident Cell, concluded that the men in the ninth compartment survived up to three days.:143''145
The Russian rescue teams were poorly equipped and badly organised, while foreign teams and equipment were simply too far away and not given permission to assist until it was too late.:143''145
The Russian government committed to raising the wreck in a US$65M salvage operation. They contracted with the Dutch marine salvage companies Smit International and Mammoet to raise the Kursk from the sea floor. It became the largest salvage operation of its type ever accomplished. The salvage operation was very dangerous because of the risk of radiation from the reactor, along with the presence of unexploded torpedo warheads (about 225 kilograms (496 lb) TNT equivalent each), the 24 SS-N-19 Granit cruise missiles aboard (about 760 kilograms (1,680 lb) each), plus a missile ejection charge (about 7 kilograms (15 lb) TNT equivalent) in each silo.
Salvage divers from Halliburton first detached the bow from the rest of the vessel because it may have contained unexploded torpedo warheads and because it could break off and destabilise the lifting. The divers installed two large hydraulic suction anchors into the seabed and attached a high-strength carbide tungsten abrasive saw that was pulled back and forth over the bow between the anchors. It took 10 days to detach the bow.
While the hydraulic suction anchors cut the bow free, the salvage crews raised several smaller pieces of wreckage. This included a piece of a torpedo tube weighing about a ton which was analysed to try to learn if the explosion occurred inside or outside the tube. They salvaged a high-pressure compressed aircylinder weighing about half a ton, to learn more about the nature of the explosion. They also brought up a part of the cylindrical section of the hard frame and part of the left forward spherical partition, to determine the intensity and temperature of the fire in the forward compartment. Finally, they raised a fragment of the sonar system dome.
Mammoet converted the 24,000 long tons (24,000 t) 130 metres (430 ft) long, Giant 4 semi-submersible barge to carry the sub. The ship was designed to carry huge loads on its deck, but the Kursk would ride beneath the ship. Giant 4 had to be completely modified to retrieve and carry the sub underneath. To raise the remainder of the ship, the salvage team planned an extremely complex operation that required them to design and build custom lifting equipment and employ new technologies. They wrote custom software that would automatically compensate for the effects of wave motion due to the rough Barents Sea, which could sever the cables suspending the sub beneath the barge.
Workers fitted the hull of Giant 4 with large saddles shaped to fit the Kursk's outer hull. Divers cut a large hole in the barge's hull to allow room for the submarine's sail. Holes were cut through the barge to allow 26 hoisting cables to pass through. The team manufactured 26 giant cable reels to hold the more than 200 kilometres (120 mi) of cable to be used to raise the ship. The giant cable reels fed 26 huge hydraulic strand jacks, each mounted on a computer-controlled, pressurised pneumatic heave compensator powered by hydrogen gas that automatically adjusted for sea waves.
The Mayo, a diving platform, was equipped with dive chambers to accommodate the dive teams. They worked in six hour shifts, and when they weren't in the water remained in the saturation chambers for the entire 28 days the operation took. The divers used hydraulic abrasive water jets to cut 26 holes through both the outer and inner hulls. The salvage divers mounted custom guidance rings around the holes in the sub and lowered guide cables to each through the holes in Giant 4. The team then used the four guide cables to lower a custom-made giant gripper, similar to a toggle bolt, which were custom designed to fit each hole, and the divers maneuvered them through the guidance ring.
The crew lowered 26 groups of hoisting cables, each capable of lifting 900 tons, to the submarine and attached them to the grippers. The strand jacks lifted the 26 hoisting cables and slowly raised the Kursk until it was beneath Giant 4. On 8 October 2001, fourteen months after the disaster, and only five months after the contract had been awarded to them, the salvage team raised the remainder of the ship in a 15-hour operation.
Once the sub was raised and joined to the barge, it was carried back under the barge to the Russian Navy's Roslyakovo Shipyard in Murmansk. Once there, two giant, custom-manufactured pontoons were floated under Giant 4 to lift the barge the 20 metres (66 ft) necessary for it to enter a floating dry dock with the Kursk attached underneath. Once in the dry dock, the pontoons were pumped full of more air, lifting Giant 4 and allowing crews to remove the lifting cables and detach the Kursk. Giant 4 floated out of the drydock and salvage crews began removing the weaponry and the remaining bodies of the crew from the hull.
The hull of the ship was gradually opened and the bodies of all but three of the 118 personnel on board were recovered. Those three were so badly destroyed by the blast and fire that their bodies could not be identified or recovered.
The Russians said it was too risky to raise the remainder of the bow'--possibly containing undetonated torpedoes'--from the sea floor. Some analysts theorised the Russians may also have wanted to prevent foreign countries from accessing the debris which had been classified as state secrets. They decided to destroy the remains where they lay and blew up the remnants of the bow in September 2002.
The sinking of the ship, the pride of their submarine fleet, was a devastating blow to the Russian military. The Kursk's participation in the exercise had been intended to demonstrate Russia's place as an important player on the international stage, but the country's inept handling of the crisis instead exposed its weak political decision-making ability and the decline of its military. Finally recognising the hazard of the HTP-fueled torpedoes, the Russian Navy ordered all of them to be removed from service.
Once the human remains had been removed and the hull had been thoroughly investigated, the remainder of the ship was transported to Sayda Bay on the northern Kayla Peninsula. The two nuclear reactors were defueled and the ship was cut up for scrap.
Officers movedEditPutin accepted the resignation of Igor Sergeyev from his position as Minister of Defence on 28 March 2001 and made him his assistant on strategic stability. He replaced him with Sergei Ivanov, who had previously been secretary of the Security Council of Russia. The position of Minister of Defence had always been filled by a professional member of the military. Ivanov had retired from the military in 2000, so his appointment as Minister of Defence while a civilian shocked the Russian military.
On 1 December 2001, Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov presented a preliminary report to Putin. Ustinov wrote that the entire exercise had been "poorly organized" and that the probe had revealed "serious violations by both Northern Fleet chiefs and the Kursk crew." Shortly afterward, Putin transferred the Northern Fleet commander, Vyacheslav Popov, and his chief of staff, Admiral Mikhail Motsak. As is common in such circumstances, both soon obtained equally prominent jobs elsewhere in the government. Popov became a representative for the Murmansk region in the Federation Council, and Motsak became deputy presidential envoy for the North-Western Federal District. Popov and Motsak had championed the story that the accident had been caused by a collision with a NATO submarine. When Putin dismissed them, he made a point of repudiating the collision theory.:163 In another example of a lateral transfer, Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov had been an outspoken advocate of the theory that the Kursk had collided with a foreign submarine. He had also been in charge of the rescue operation and follow-up inquiry. In February 2002, Putin removed him from his position as Deputy Prime Minister and made him Minister of Industry, Science, and Technology.
Putin dismissed the Northern Fleet's submarine commander, Vice Admiral Oleg Burtsev,:162 and in total removed 12 high-ranking officers in charge of the Northern Fleet. Paradoxically, he said their dismissal had nothing to do with the Kursk disaster, but that they had been responsible for "serious flaws in the organizations of the service." However, all 12 had been involved with the exercise, the rescue operations, or the submarine itself.:34 All were transferred to equal positions elsewhere in the government or in the business sector.
A year later Putin commented on his response, "I probably should have returned to Moscow, but nothing would have changed. I had the same level of communication both in Sochi and in Moscow, but from a PR point of view I could have demonstrated some special eagerness to return."
International cooperationEditAs a result of the disaster, Russia began participating in NATO search and rescue exercises during 2011. It was the first time a Russian submarine had taken part in a NATO-led exercise. The Russian Navy also increased the number of deep-sea divers trained each year from 18''20 to 40''45.
Awards to those killedEditPresident Putin signed a decree awarding the Order of Courage to the entire crew, and the title Hero of the Russian Federation to the submarine's captain, Gennady Lyachin.
MemorialsEditOutside the port city of Severodvinsk where the submarine was built, a large granite slab was erected on the sand dunes. It is engraved, "This sorrowful stone is set in memory of the crew of the nuclear submarine Kursk, who tragically died on 12 August 2000, while on military duty." Other memorials were built in Moscow, Sevastopol, Nizhny Novgorod, and Severomorsk. A memorial was erected in Serafimovskoye Cemetery in St. Petersburg, where 32 of the sailors were buried. The city of Kursk, for which the vessel was named, erected a memorial made from fragments of its hull.
On 17 March 2009, journalist Tatyana Abramova from the newspaper Murmanskiy Vestnik found the Kursk's sail in the yard of a scrap metal dealer. It had been left there after several years of negotiations had failed to raise the estimated '¬22,000 for a memorial. The discovery sparked an outcry among citizens in Murmansk and they demanded it be turned into a memorial to the men who died. After considerable difficulty, the memorial was finally completed and dedicated on Sunday, 26 July 2009, Russia's Navy Day, in the submarine's home port, the Vidyayevo naval base. It lists the names of the crew members.
On 31 July 2012, divers representing the relatives of the Kursk's crew and the Northern Fleet command placed an Orthodox cross on the floor of the Barents Sea at the site of the disaster.
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