Debris Found Near Kurst
Linked To British & US Subs
By Ian Traynor in Moscow,3604,364456,00.html
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 in Scotland.
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" subsequently disappeared.
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 <
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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