.contact us |.about us
Home BizChina Newsphoto Cartoon LanguageTips Metrolife DragonKids SMS Edu
news... ...
             Focus on... ...

Russia's Kursk rises from Arctic seabed
( 2001-10-08 09:25 ) (7 )

Salvage teams on Monday started lifting the wreck of the Kursk nuclear submarine from the Arctic seabed, where it has lain ever since it sank last year with 118 crew members on board.

"The Kursk has risen from the ocean floor. It started rising at 3.45 a.m. (1145 GMT)," said Larissa van Seumeren, spokeswoman for the Dutch company Mammoet contracted by Moscow to lift the Kursk. "We are going to be lifting for the next ten hours."

The Kursk rose off the ocean floor more than three hours after the salvage crews began trying to winch the vessel's stern from the grip of the muddy Barents Sea floor.

The lifting pressure was then transferred slowly forward in a delicate operation aimed at retrieving the submarine intact.

"The vessel is completely loose now and free from mud," she added. "It came off quite easily, easier than we expected."

The nerve-wracking task of freeing the giant submarine from the mud prior to hauling it to the surface -- a journey of 100 metres (330 feet) -- started after divers installed radiation monitors at the wreck and made last-minute checks.

Van Seumeren said the operation would take about 10 hours as the Kursk is lifted through the waters at the stately pace of some 10 metres an hour.

Vladimir Navrotsky, spokesman for Russia's Northern Fleet said the submarine would be suspended close to the seabed for an hour before it started moving to the surface.

"If after an hour, all the cables are holding up the weight well, the actual lifting will start," he told Reuters.

The Kursk, one of Russia's most advanced submarines, plunged to the seabed after two still-unexplained explosions ripped through its bow on August 12, 2000.

The disaster, a devastating blow to Russia's proud naval tradition, put the spotlight on the country's ailing military.

President Vladimir Putin, who celebrated his 49th birthday on Sunday, was roundly attacked for his initial handling of the crisis, notably failing to end a holiday and return to Moscow.

Putin later vowed to raise the Kursk at any cost and return the sailors' remains to their families for burial.

The lifting operation was set for September 15 but bad weather and technical difficulties delayed it.

Once raised, the vessel will be strapped to the Giant 4 lifting barge and taken to dry-dock at the town of Roslyakovo outside Murmansk, where experts will seek to determine the cause of the disaster and cut out its arsenal of cruise missiles.

The wreck will then be sealed and towed to the nearby shipyard at Snezhnogorsk where its nuclear fuel will be unloaded and the vessel dismantled. 



        .contact us |.about us
  Copyright By chinadaily.com.cn. All rights reserved