- Russian salvage teams at the scene of the Kursk submarine
disaster have found an object resembling part of the conning tower of a
British or American nuclear submarine, a senior Russian officer said yesterday.
- Reiterating the Russian navy line that the most likely
explanation for the sudden sinking of the Kursk on August 12 was a collision
with a foreign vessel, Colonel General Valery Manilov, the deputy chief
of the general staff, told a press conference in Moscow that the object
was lying at the bottom of the Barents sea, off the coast of Murmansk,
and was being guarded by Russian warships.
- The Russian top brass continued to believe that the likeliest
cause of the Kursk disaster was a collision with "an other large underwater
object", Gen Manilov declared.
- Norwegian, British, and American experts have all queried
the plausibility of the collision theory. US intelligence last week made
it plain that it believed a torpedo explosion in the Kursk had ripped open
the hull of the 152-metre (500ft) submarine and precipitated its instant
flooding and sinking, killing 118 seamen.
- The Americans confirmed that the US navy had two submarines
and a spy ship in the Barents sea monitoring the Russian naval exercises
at the time of the disaster, though leaked information in Washington named
only one of the submarines. The Russians later named the mystery submarine
as the Toledo and said it was now at the Faslane nuclear submarine base
- There were several pieces of indirect evidence to support
the collision scenario, Gen Manilov said. "The Kursk probably collided
with another submarine whose keel cut open the nose of the [Kursk] submarine
and possibly damaged the hull. The collision version is also confirmed
by the nature of the other damage to the Kursk - the damage to the tower
and the fact that its railings were removed."
- Only 50 metres from the sunken Kursk, Russian rescue
vessels had found "something resembling the railings of a conning
tower similar to those fitted on American and British nuclear submarines",
the general went on.
- The mystery object could not be raised from the seabed
and so the area was being guarded by Russian battleships, he said.
- The Russian rescue teams and monitors had also located
a raised area on the seabed 500 metres from the Kursk, but this "hillock"
- From the very start of the Kursk crisis, senior officers
such as Igor Sergeyev, the defence minister, and Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov,
the navy commander, have pushed the theory that the Kursk was downed by
a Nato vessel.
- Gen Manilov said yesterday that the collision then triggered
the explosion of pressurised cylinders on the Kursk.
- Norwegian, American, and British services who monitored
the disaster heard two explosions on the morning of August 12, two and
a half minutes apart and the second much louder than the first.
- From Rainey B. Beyer <BeyerRB@navair.navy.mil
- I do not believe that railings from an American submarine
were found near the Kurst.
- Background: I spent 16 years as a submariner ( I retired
in 1980, but still worked with submarines as a civilian for another 16
years). Most of the time, either in new construction of submarines as
a "Plankowner" (initial crew) or at sea on the submarines. This
includes the Los Angeles class.
- Item: There are no railings on the sail (conning tower)
while the sub is at sea. All railings and like items are brought below
decks, i.e., inside the ship, when the ship is "rigged for dive"
prior to diving. There would be nothing left on the sail resembling railings.
The British nuclear subs have a similar arrangement. The reason for this
is streamlining and noise reduction. Rails and other loose items would
rattle or cause turbulance, which could give away the ship's position.
- Item: There have been no rumors of damage or loss of
an American submarine. I still have close contacts in the submarine community
and the rumors would have reached me.
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