CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2002, MCB UP Limited
10 August 2001 – Ehime Maru
The Japanese submarine rescue ship Chihaya was expected to arrive in Hawaii later this month to join in the complex effort to recover the bodies of nine people who went down with fishing Ehime Maru after she was struck by submarine Greeneville earlier this year. The 130-man crew of the Chihaya includes 30 divers from the Maritime Self-Defence Force, who will work alongside US divers as they prepare to raise the hulk of the Ehime Maru off the bottom and carry it to shallower water where the recovery of the remains will take place. A remote-control submersible on board the Chihaya will be used to scour the ocean floor for any personal effects left behind when the vessel is lifted and moved.
15 August 2001 – US Navy divers said yesterday that they are ready to search for bodies trapped inside the wreck of fishing Ehime Maru when she was rammed by a US nuclear submarine Greeneville. Before the divers can descend to the sunken vessel, the Navy must try to raise Ehime Maru where she rests on the sea floor at 2,000ft to 115ft. That could occur during the next 30 days. Once moved, divers will enter the battered hull of the vessel and search for bodies. The divers, part of a 66-member contingent that will work seven days a week on recovery, have been training daily at their pier-side headquarters near the mouth of Pearl Harbor, said Cmdr. Rob Fink, commanding officer of Mobile Diving Salvage Unit 1. "Our mission is to recover nine missing crew members and we will look stem to stern, top to bottom",Fink said. The Navy intends to raise Ehime Maru to about 100ft using cables suspended from salvage Rockwater 2, to create a giant sling, and tow her while still submerged and set her down in shallower waters of 115ft. The move, which will take about three days, is planned to be completed by mid-September. Engineers aboard Rockwater 2 intend to blast water through coiled tubing to clear a space beneath Ehime Maru so that flexible lifting plates can be placed beneath the ship.Once the vessel is moved, the diverswill search at least nine locations in Ehime Maru where crew members were last seen, but the Navy officials have said they do not expect to find more than seven bodies. Although lifting a vessel from such extreme depths has never been done before, sending Navy divers into wrecks at 115ft is practically routine, said Chief Warrant Officer 3 George Primavera, the senior diver overseeing the mission.
18 August 2001 – A Navy oceanographic ship that has charted wind, currents, tides and characteristics of the ocean bottom was to begin collecting more data this weekend to assist in the recovery of fishing Ehime Maru sunk by a US nuclear submarine Greeneville, the Navy said. The USNS Sumner, which has been collecting oceanographic and meteorological data since mid-June, was to leave Honolulu Harbour today to aid in the recovery of Ehime Maru. "It's a small piece of the operation but a very important one", Capt. Ty Aldinger, fleet oceanographer for the US Pacific Fleet, said yesterday during a media tour of the Sumner. "What's important is that we are doing everything we can to understand the ocean environment to ensure the success of the Ehime Maru operation." The Sumner is assisting salvage Rockwater 2, which will try to lift Ehime Maru from a depth of 2,000ft about nine miles south of Oahu and move her to shallow water about a mile off the Honolulu Airport reef runway. Today, US Navy officials in Japan briefed families in Uwajima on the recovery efforts. The most important information the Sumner has provided is data on ocean depth, followed by currents and overall weather conditions, Aldinger said. During its latest deployment, the Sumner will check on buoys, which she placed on 18 July, that send data on currents back to the ship. Meteorologists on board the Sumner are preparing long-range weather forecasts for the area from the recovery site to the place where it will be towed. Michael Carron, a scientist at the Naval Oceanographic Center assigned to the Ehime Maru support effort, said he doesn't expect any problems with weather or ocean conditions. Ehime Maru will be lifted 100ft off the ocean bottom over a period of about three days and then towed 12 miles to the shallow water site during a single-day daylight operation. Sumner will move ahead of the Rockwater 2 during the tow to measure currents, said its skipper, retired Navy Cmdr. Troy Erwin.
20 August 2001 – Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force (MSDF) submarine rescue vessel Chihaya arrived in Honolulu this morning to take part in the salvage of fishing Ehime Maru, which was struck and sunk by submarine Greeneville on 9 February. The Chihaya is carrying roughly 130 Japanese sailors who will join the US Navy in efforts to lift and transport the sunken vessel from where she lies, about 600m below the surface of the sea some 14km off Diamond Head on Oahu Island. The Ehime Maru will be towed to a shallow shoal sometime next month, where divers will then attempt to retrieve remains of the missing crew members, some five to seven of whom are believed to be entombed inside the hull. Nine people went missing in the collision. Once the Ehime Maru is towed to shallower water, the Chihaya will move into the area and the MSDF crew members, including about 30 Japanese divers, will monitor the US Navy's recovery efforts and conduct a final inspection of the vessel before it is permanently sunk in international waters. The Chihaya crew will also collaborate with other MSDF members who flew into Hawaii last week on board aP-3C Orion aircraft to advise and facilitate communication between the US Navy divers and the MSDF divers. The Japanese rescue ship is also transporting a Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSVR), which is capable of raising objects up to 100kg. The Chihaya left her base in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture, western Japan on 10 August.
30 August 2001 – The US Navy lifted the stern of fishing Ehime Maru high enough for salvage crews to begin installing equipment needed to raise the vessel. Ehime Maru rests in 2,000ft of water, nine miles south of Diamond Head. The vessel sank 9 February after it was rammed by the USS submarine Greeneville during a rapid-surfacing drill. The Navy is trying to raise the vessel l00ft off the sea floor to bring her closer to shore, so divers can try to recover the bodies of nine men and boys believed to be on board. In an operation that lasted into last night, Navy and contract engineers, using remotely operated equipment, attempted to pull two wires, one at the stern and one at the centre, underneath the hull, said Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Russell Coons. It is a cradle effect, Coons said. Once that is completed, the engineers planned to pull two 50ft long lifting plates into position, he said. The Pearl Harbor-based Greeneville remained in port at Guam for minor repairs yesterday, after being damaged while trying to enter the Saipan seaport on 27 August. A preliminary investigation found the submarine brushed the bottom in extremely rough seas on its approach to the harbor, the Navy said.
1 September 2001 – The stern of fishing Ehime Maru was raised nearly 24ft off the bottom of the ocean in an effort to place two cables under the vessel. The cables will be used to pull two large metal plates under the vessel so she can be lifted off the ocean floor in an attempt to move her. One of the two cables had moved out of place but another attempt will be made to reposition the cable. Once the cables are in place, heavy-duty lifting slings must still be pulled under the hull.
2 September 2001 – High waves and strong winds Friday (31 August) prevented the US Navy from lifting the stern of fishing Ehime Maru to reposition one of two lead wires, a Navy official said. The positioning of the two wires, called messenger wires, is critical to the rigging and transporting of the vessel from her current location at a depth of about 600m to a shallow shoal, where divers will attempt to retrieve the remains and personal effects of the nine people who were lost in the collision with USS submarine Greeneville. The official said the Navy has decided to wait out the rough conditions and hopes that the 3m waves and strong winds will subside so work can resume on positioning the forward wire. Poor visibility hampered efforts by navy technicians during the first lift manoeuvre on Thursday as sediment stirred up by the remotely operated vehicles meant they could not see that the forward wire had become entangled around the centre of the vessel, rather than under the pilot house. After the stern is lifted and the messenger wire is pulled into place, the wire will be connected to a steel lifting plate to be slid under the hull. Two steel plates will then be positioned at the forward and aft sections of the vessel so that they can support the vessel as she is transported to the shallower waters. Despite the delay, the Navy remains optimistic that the Ehime Maru will be moved by mid-September, unless officials determine that the vessel is too damaged to withstand the move intact. Meanwhile, about 30 Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force divers began training to acclimatize themselves to the conditions they will face during their recovery efforts. More than 60 US Navy divers are also training at the Navy Diving Complex in Pearl Harbour aboard the diving barge to be used in the recovery mission.
6 September 2001 – A giant strap split as it was lifting Ehime Maru, thwarting for the third time in two weeks the Navy's unprecedented efforts to recover the ship sunk by submarine Greeneville. The Ehime Maru had been lifted 24ft off the ocean floor before the steel strap split Tuesday night(4 September), according to the Navy, which announced the setback yesterday afternoon on its Web site. Navy and contract engineers on the civilian-contracted vessel Rockwater 2 returned to port yesterday to swab out equipment and evaluate their next move, the Navy said.
20 September 2001 – The US Navy expects to lift the Ehime Maru off the ocean floor in October rather than at the end of September, a Navy spokesman said Tuesday (18 September). At a meeting with Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka on 9 September, Adm. Thomas Fargo, the Navy's Pacific Fleet Commander, told her that if the operations proceed smoothly, the search for the nine Japanese who went missing in the collision could begin by the end of the month. The salvage has been delayed, however, as progress has been slower than expected. Despite the recent terrorist attacks on New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon, navy officials say that the salvage operation remains unaffected. Work on the bow of the ship has continued uninterrupted and progresses around the clock, officials said. Technicians aboard the Navy-contracted salvage vessel Rockwater 2 have focused on dredging the area around the bow to clear it of sediment, which had partially buried the front of the vessel during previous lift attempts. This work is expected to continue until both the port and starboard sides are clear of sediment and cables can be attached to lift the bow to be level with the stern on the ocean floor. After the bow is properly positioned, two steel plates will be slid into place so that the rigging for the lift can begin. Numerous setbacks have caused delays in the operation over the last month. Two lifting plates broke and technicians had to draw up new methods to get the plates under the ship to move it to a depth accessible to divers. Nine of the 35 people aboard the vessel, including four students from Uwajima Fisheries High School in Ehime Prefecture, went down with the vessel. The Navy now believes, however, that only five to seven of them remain inside the vessel.
23 September 2001 – The cost of trying to recover fishing Ehime Maru which was sunk by a US nuclear submarine Greeneville last winter has already reached $60 million, well over the $40 million initially expected, the Navy said. Heavy seas and engineering challenges contributed to the increased cost of the operation, the US Pacific Fleet said yesterday. Officials could not estimate how much more the operation would cost. The effort to raise the Ehime Maru from her resting place 2,000ft below the ocean's surface and tow her to shallower water had been expected to be completed by mid-September. However, the Navy said on Friday (21 September) that the operation probably would not be finished until late next month. Towing the Ehime Maru from where she went down nine miles south of Diamond Head to shallower water off Honolulu International Airport would allow divers to search the vessel for bodies.
7 October 2001 – The US Navy on Friday (5 October) succeeded in lifting and moving fishing Ehime Maru, paving the way for the vessel to be salvaged, navy officials said. Diving support Rockwater 2 began lifting the vessel's bow around noon Friday and moved the vessel within three hours to a firm patch of seabed some 34m away from where she had come to rest. The Navy then began preparations to position a steel plate beneath the Ehime Maru at the new site, which is about 600m below the surface, so that the rigging can begin. If all goes well, full salvage operations will begin as early as tomorrow, the officials said. The operation to move the vessel to the new site was originally scheduled for Thursday but postponed for one day as work to thread wires through the anchor holes of the vessel and attach them to the lifting device took longer than expected. Once the Navy succeeds in bringing the vessel up to shallow waters, divers are expected to be dispatched to retrieve the remains of the nine people who were lost when the Ehime Maru was sunk, after she was in collision with US nuclear submarine Greeneville.
10 October 2001 – Weather permitting, the US Navy believes that as early as tonight it may finally begin raising fishing Ehime Maru. At a 30 minute news conference yesterday, Rear Adm. William Klemm, who heads the salvage operation, emphasised that this timetable is contingent on favourable sea swells and other weather conditions such as a drop in trade winds. Klemm said it will take three to four days to make the slow transit from where Ehime Maru rests, nine miles south of Diamond Head, to shallower waters because diving support Rockwater 2, that will be moving Ehime Maru, will be travelling 0.2 knots to 0.5 knots. Klemm optimistically told reporters that there now is a 90 percent chance of success that the 190ft vessel can be lifted from where she sits in 2,000ft of water and moved 14.5 miles to shallower waters south of the Honolulu Airport's reef runway. Klemm acknowledged that the potential for failure remains, but he said he has "very high confidence in this operation and we expect to succeed." He said it would be 48 hours before divers will be allowed to explore the Ehime Maru once she reaches the reef runway site to give the vessel time to settle on the ocean bottom, making next Wednesday (17 October) the earliest day that dives could be made. The conditions at the deepwater site have been fairly rough these past few days with waves averaging 8 to 10ft and trade winds reached 30 knots with occasional gusts higher than that. Ideally, Klemm said, he would like to see the trades dropping to 15 knots and wave heights of about 6ft. The current weather front is expected to pass north of the islands by late tonight, giving the Navy the window it hopes it can use to begin raising Ehime Maru one metre a minute until she is about 90ft off the ocean bottom. The Navy expects to encounter the roughest ocean conditions during the first six miles because of the normal strong sea swells from the south, which are then met by equally heavy trades blowing from the east.
12 October 2001 – Rough seas and technical problems yesterday delayed the Navy's attempt to move Japanese fishing Ehime Maru to shallow water, Navy officials said. Motion caused by waves on the surface complicated the task of the Rockwater 2, an oil-rigging vessel that has been readying the 190ft Ehime Maru for the move since early August. The Rockwater 2 was unable to completely connect the top and bottom lifting frames over the vessel, located 2,000ft beneath the ocean surface. The operation was also delayed because of a technical difficulty with the tool a remotely operated underwater vehicle is using to close the pin that connects the lifting frames, the Navy said. Navy and contract engineers were working to correct the problem. The Navy said earlier this week that the high school fisheries training vessel from Uwajima, Japan, is more structurally intact than officials feared she might be after she was rammed by the USS Greeneville on9 February during a rapid surfacing drill. The Navy has spent at least $60 million to recover the bodies of the nine Japanese men and teenage boys who died when the vessel sank. The Ehime Maru is to be towed underwater to a shallow recovery site, where Navy divers will search for the remains. The Navy says moving the vessel will take three to four days.
14 October 2001 – The US Navy has almost completed an operation to tow fishing Ehime Maru to shallower waters. It hopes to recover the bodies of nine Japanese students and teachers believed to be trapped inside. The wreckage was harnessed to a giant lifting frame suspended beneath oil-rigger Rockwater 2. Once it reaches shallower waters, remotely-operated vehicles will inspect the vessel and monitor the lifting. The Navy expects it will take divers about 33 days to completely search the vessel for remains. The Navy said last week that the trawler, from Uwajima, southern Japan, was not as badly damaged as first feared. It has spent $60 million so far on trying to recover the victims.
15 October 2001 – It has been reported that fishing Ehime Maru has been successfully moved to a shallow water site. The damaged vessel had been lifted under water, placed in slings and moved across some 14 nautical miles from 2,000ft of water to a new location and placed on dead coral in 115ft of water. Divers will search the vessel for the bodies of the five adults and four high school students still missing and any of their personal belongings.
16 October 2001 – US Navy divers today spotted the first body inside the sunken hull of fishing Ehime Maru. The remains were seen by divers using cameras to survey the Japanese vessel; they had not entered the vessel. They hoped to recover the body later, said Lt. Commander Gregg Baumann. Baumann gave few details about the discovery. He said the Navy does not want to raise false expectations by giving details of where the body was found, since some families know about where on the ship their loved ones were. The unprecedented recovery operation has cost the Navy more than $60 million.
18 October 2001 – Divers found two more bodies yesterday aboard Japanese fishing Ehime Maru the Navy said. One body was recovered and sent to the medical examiner for identification, but darkness set in before the other could be recovered. It was to be brought to the surface today, the Navy said. Diving crews have now found three bodies from the Ehime Maru. The first body was found Tuesday (16 October) and identified as her chief radio operator, the medical examiner's office said. The vessel, which may contain the bodies of six more Japanese men and boys, was towed 16 miles underwater from the 2,000ft waters where it sank9 February after it was rammed by the USS Greeneville during a rapid-surfacing drill. The wreck now lies in 115ft of water a mile off Oahu's southern shore. The divers also will recover personal effects of those missing and from the 26 surviving adults and students. Lt. Cmdr. Neil Sheehan, Navy liaison for the victims' families, said the vessel will be scoured for remains before personal effects are removed. The Navy is paying funeral and travel costs for up to five family members of each victim to fly from Japan to receive the remains. Less than 10 percent of the vessel had been searched by the end of yesterday, said Lt. Cmdr. Gregg Baumann, Pacific Fleet spokesman for the operation. Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi telephoned US Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Thomas Fargo today, thanking him for the US Navy's efforts.
19 October 2001 – As divers on Friday located a fifth body in the wreckage of fishing Ehime Maru, the US Navy promised to escort the victims' relatives to the recovery site. The medical examiner has so far identified two crew members and two students among those recovered. Chief engineer Toshimichi Furuya, 47, and Toshiya Sakashima, 17, a student at Uwajima Fisheries High School, were the third and fourth victims identified since Navy divers began searching the wreckage Monday (15 October). Earlier in the week, divers recovered the bodies of student Katsuya Nomoto and Hirotaka Segawa, 20, the ship's chief radio operator. A fifth body was located late today and was to be brought to the surface later.
21 October 2001 – A sixth body has been found in the wreckage of fishing Ehime Maru, according to US Navy divers.
26 October 2001 – The US Navy said divers recovered a seventh corpse from fishing Ehime Maru. The divers will send the remains to the City and County of Honolulu Medical Examiner for identification, the Navy said. Nine people were killed on 9 February when the USS Greeneville contacted Ehime Maru. So far, the remains of five people have been retrieved and identified using dental records. One set of remains is undergoing DNA testing for identification. Naval officers earlier said the divers have covered 45 percent of the vessel, adding that the search-and-recovery operation, which began 15 October, may be completed Sunday (28 October).
30 October 2001 – The US Navy will decide within a week to ten days whether it will drain the fuel tanks of fishing Ehime Maru of the 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel that may be still trapped within her hull. That decision will be made by environmental engineers and Rear Adm. William Klemm, who is charge of the recovery operations. Capt. Chris Murray, the Navy's supervisor of diving, yesterday said he believes "the structural integrity of the vessel" will be a factor in determining whether the remaining diesel fuel oil has to be taken off. Ehime Maru was believed to have between 60,000 and 65,000 gallons of diesel fuel when it left Honolulu Harbour nearly nine months ago. The Navy says it is surprised how very little of it leaked while the vessel was raised 1,800ft and moved 16 miles earlier this month. Navy officials now surmise that most of the diesel fuel was probably lost right after the collision with a US submarine in February. "Divers have taken soundings of the hull and have verified that the tanks are empty", Navy spokesman Cmdr. David Wray said last night said. So far, nearly 85 percent of the 190ft vessel has been searched and the bodies of eight of the nine missing people have been recovered. Murray said the search for Uwajima Fisheries High School student Takeshi Mizuguchi will continue this week as the team of Navy and Japanese civilian divers begin to take personal items, such as clothing and other things, off the vessel. However, Murray said the divers remain optimistic even though the area – the third-level crew's cabins – has been already searched once. Since14 October, when the Ehime Maru was relocated from where she sank nine miles south of Diamond Head, more than 249 dives have been made into and around the Ehime Maru, with the divers spending 107 hours in the water. Murray said since the Ehime Maru was relocated to 115ft of water three weeks ago, one mile south of the Honolulu Airport's reef runway, only 275 gallons of diesel fuel and lube oil have been "vacuumed" from within the vessel. Initially, the Navy planned to use a process called "hot tapping" to siphon the fuel tanks from outside the vessel. But Wray said last night the Navy may skip that procedure since it doesn't want to take the chance of weakening the hull if the tanks are nearly empty.
10 August 2001 – Kursk (Russia)
Divers using special drills and chains will start slicing off the mangled front section of the sunken nuclear submarine Kursk on 12 August, exactly one year after the disaster that destroyed the huge vessel and killed 118 Russian seamen, officials said today. The Russian Navy released video footage of the underwater preparations to lift the Kursk from the Barents Sea floor next month. The video, shot 2 August and shown on Russian television stations today, showed divers' hands manoeuvring outside the stricken submarine and amid a mass of wires and pipes between its inner and outer hulls. It also showed the process of removing pieces of hull, as well as cables and systems that Navy spokesman Igor Dygalo said were in the fifth compartment, which contains the nuclear reactors. Russian officials insist there is no risk that the reactors will be damaged in the risky operation to raise the vessel, scheduled for mid-September. Before the submarine is lifted, divers will cut off the front section, which Russian officials say may contain unexploded torpedoes. That section will be left on the sea floor, though Russian officials say they may raise it later. Dygalo said divers will start the cutting 12 August, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported. Today divers continued cutting holes in the submarine's double hull, to which steel cables will be attached to raise the submarine. The cables will be connected to hydraulic lifting devices anchored to a giant barge, which is to bring the Kursk to the port of Murmansk.
20 August 2001 – Storms have halted attempts to salvage the nuclear submarine Kursk from the Barents Sea. Russian officials said waves more than four metres high and strong winds had forced the operation to stop, because of fears for divers' safety. No let-up in the harsh weather is expected until mid-week. The Kursk is due to be lifted by mid-September, before winter weather closes in on the area. Navy commanders have accepted that the operation is now behind schedule.
21 August 2001 – Bad weather has forced workers trying to salvage the nuclear submarine Kursk to suspend their efforts for the second time in three days. Russian navy officials say the wind is blowing at up to 20m a second at the scene of the operation. Work only resumed yesterday afternoon after being suspended on Saturday (18 August) for the same reason. Divers have so far cut 18 of the 26 openings in the Kursk's hull necessary for cables to be attached for the lifting. Salvage operators hope to raise the vessel on or about 15 September.
24 August 2001 – Storms in the Barents Sea have forced the temporary suspension of the operation to raise nuclear submarine Kursk. But Russian officials say the work is still expected to be completed on schedule. The vessel is set to be brought to the surface 15 September. It will be raised when steel cables are connected to 26 computer-controlled hydraulic lifting devices, anchored to a giant barge. But winds of up to 45 mph and high waves are rocking the Norwegian diving support vessel Mayo, which is serving as a base for the salvage operation. Vice Admiral Michail Motsak has decided to halt work until the situation is calmer, a spokesman says. "The deadline for the operation will not change", says Ilya Klebanov, a deputy prime minister.
26 August 2001 – A violent storm forced deep-sea divers preparing to lift the wreck of nuclear submarine Kursk to halt work today, putting further strain on the salvage operation's already tight schedule. The bad weather held up the departure from a Norwegian port of a support vessel carrying cutting gear needed to saw off the submarine's mangled torpedo bay. The Kursk sank to the bottom of the Barents Sea last August after two explosions ripped open its bow, killing all 118 people on board. Theories on what caused the explosions range from a collision with a NATO submarine to a faulty torpedo on board. President Vladimir Putin has promised the crew's relatives the wreck will be raised this year so they can bury their dead. News agencies quoted the press service of Russia's North Sea Fleet, co-ordinating the salvage, as saying divers had left the submarine after temperatures plunged and fog shrouded the area. Interfax news agency quoted a North Sea Fleet spokesman as saying the bad weather had also delayed pontoon AMT Carrier, now moored in Norway, for at least one day. The pontoon is carrying two towers to be installed on the seabed on both sides of the Kursk and a diamond cable-saw which will be used to cut off the vessel's front. The bow housed the submarine's torpedo arsenal. Officials have said the bow has to be separated in case a damaged but unexploded torpedo goes off while the vessel is lifted, which could send it and its two nuclear reactors back to the bottom. Interfax said the divers working on the submarine's body had cut 22 out of 26 holes through which heavy lifting cables will be attached. Two giant pontoons are due to transport the submarine to a dry dock, where its nuclear reactors will be disposed of and investigators will look for clues as to what caused Russia's worst naval disaster. North Sea Fleet officials dismissed suggestions the delays put the operation timetable under threat, saying they stuck to the original 15 September deadline for lifting the Kursk. September is seen as the last window of opportunity for the operation before winter storms make salvage work unsafe. One of three foreign firms that Moscow contracted to lift the Kursk has said, however, that once preparatory work is done and all necessary equipment is in place, the actual lifting could take place as late as mid-October.
27 August 2001 – Subsiding storms allowed an international diving team to resume carving and clearing work today on sunken nuclear submarine Kursk, to prepare it for an ambitious lifting operation next month, officials said. Thick fog and fierce winds at the Barents Sea site forced divers to suspend their work yesterday, the third such delay in a week, fuelling concerns that the massive submarine would not be ready for the raising operation. The submarine had explosions on board and sank last August, killing all 118 men on board. Skies cleared and waters calmed by this morning and work resumed, Russian Navy spokesman Igor Dygalo said in a statement. Winds remained at 12 mph. Divers today focused on clearing out a space between the inner and outer hulls above the third compartment, he said. Before they stopped work yesterday, divers had finished cutting 22 of 26 holes in the thick hull of the submarine. The holes must then be fitted for the steel cables that will be attached to the Kursk to bring it to the surface. Officials have said repeatedly in recent days that the mid-September target date for the raising operation had not changed, but much work remains.
29 August 2001 – Pontoon Giant 4, which will retrieve nuclear submarine Kursk, set sail from Amsterdam yesterday heading for the submarine's resting place in the Barents Sea. Giant 4 is expected to take 10-12 days to arrive on site. With work due to start on 15 September, it is hoped that the Kursk can eventually be lifted in around ten hours. The pontoon has been undergoing a $2 million conversion at Amsterdam's Shipdock on behalf the Mammoet Smit joint venture. The all-Dutch consortium plans to deliver the Kursk into a dock in Murmansk before winter.
3 September 2001 – An international salvage team trying to raise Russia's Kursk submarine was grappling with faults to its robot cutting gear today, after other technical glitches and storms threatened to delay the project. Itar-Tass news agency quoted Russian navy sources as saying the Dutch and Russian team had found a problem in the vacuum anchor mechanism of the high-tech cutting gear which will be used to cut away the nuclear submarine's mangled torpedo bay. A test cut may still be possible tonight, the Navy sources said.
4 September 2001 – An international salvage team working to raise submarine Kursk began cutting into the hull today after overcoming faults in the robot cutting gear, the Russian navy said. Work began on slicing into the exterior of the submarine after the high-tech cutting gear, which will be used to cut away the nuclear submarine's mangled torpedo bay, carried out a successful test operation overnight, a navy spokesman said in a statement. The Dutch and Russian team is striving to lift the Kursk by late September.
6 September 2001 – Russia's navy admitted that a saw being used to slice off the bow of the sunken nuclear submarine Kursk has malfunctioned in the latest in a spate of problems that threaten to delay the salvage operation until next year. Vladimir Navrotsky, the top spokesman for Russia's Northern Fleet, said that one of the cables operating the unique underwater saw tore apart only hours after it was launched yesterday evening, grinding recovery work to a halt. "Yesterday, work was stopped because of a new problem with the saw", Navrotsky said, adding that British deep-sea divers were trying to fix the problem. A spokesperson for the Dutch salvage company Mammoet-Smit meanwhile told the Dutch news agency ANP that the sawing operation was due to restart late today. The spokesperson added that the "Giant 4" barge, which is to help refloat the submarine, is expected in the Barents Sea next week. A company spokesman said earlier 25 per cent of the work had been completed. According to the preliminary schedule drafted over the summer, the dangerous bow, where the Kursk's torpedoes and cruise missiles were stored, was to have been removed by7 August. The whole operation was to have been completed by 21 September, although some navy officials now concede that it could drag on into early October.
8 September 2001 – The nuclear submarine Kursk salvage operation will involve a third cable saw, which is being moved into position today, said a spokesman for the headquarters of the Russian North Fleet, who referred to Vice-Admiral Mikhail Motsak in charge of the special salvage expedition. In his words, a cable saw jammed along the port-side cutting line in the evening of 7 September. That saw was subsequently extracted by a winch at only about 0000,8 September. A spring inside the port-side vacuum anchor's hydraulic unit also stopped operating. Foreign specialists from the salvage vessel Mayo managed to repair all defective systems through the night. Right now, the vacuum anchor has been repaired completely. The new cable saw, which has already been positioned onto the cutting line, is now being adjusted accordingly. Local weather conditions remain favourable.
13 September 2001 – The bow of Russian nuclear submarine Kursk has been sawn off, allowing an attempt to lift it from the sea bed to be scheduled for 25 September. Bad weather and problems with the huge robotic saw used to cut through the submarine's hull had led to fears that the lifting would have to be postponed until next year. A spokesman for the Dutch contractors leading the salvage operation, Lars Walder, said the most difficult task remaining would be to loosen the submarine from the sea bed by dragging a steel wire underneath her. A giant barge which will tow the Kursk to a floating dock once she has been raised is already in the Norwegian port of Kirkenes, and is due on site on 19 September. Under the new schedule the Kursk should arrive at the dock in Roslyakovo on Russia's Kola peninsula by 28 September. However, under the original plan, announced at the start of the operation, the lifting operation was due to have taken place around 15 September. Divers will now "seal" the front end of the wreck with a thick metal sheet to prevent more water entering during the lifting, and destabilising the operation. Although weather conditions today were reported to be good, the risk of bad weather remains. Russian meteorologists say the probability of good weather is diminishing and that cyclones are expected in the second half of the month. Experts say that attempts to determine the cause of the disaster will be hampered by the fact that the most crucial evidence is likely to be in the 25m bow section that will remain for now on the sea bed. This section, which contains the torpedo bay, is where the explosions occurred. Russian authorities plan to raise it to the surface at a later date.
19 September 2001 – Deep-sea divers were continuing their efforts today to raise the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk from the depths of the Barents Sea. They attached gripper guides for lifting cables through the holes in the vessel's hull, RIA Novosti news agency reported. The divers were to hook up 26 guides to match the same number of apertures drilled at an earlier stage of the salvage efforts. The final stage of the salvage operation will involve lifting the submarine from the Barents Sea with the help of the Dutch-made Giant 4 barge and then towing both vessels to a dock in the Murmansk region. Giant 4 was expected to leave her mooring in Norway this weekend, RIA Novosti said. By the time of her arrival, all 26 gripper guides should be installed. Meanwhile, experts at Norway's Bellona agency for environmental protection voiced their concern Wednesday that an accident could occur during the lifting of the vessel. Bellona's representative, Igor Kudrik, told Interfax news agency that the data in Bellona's possession indicated that the first compartment may not have been entirely cut off from the rest of the vessel. Russia decided to cut up the vessel and leave the first compartment that holds the torpedo bay at the bottom of the sea, to be salvaged next year. On Wednesday, Kudrik warned that the first compartment could break off from the remainder of the sub, if it were not completely sawed off, and such a situation could lead to an accident. The Kursk carried 24 torpedoes – 22 of them equipped with warheads – when it sank during a naval exercise in the Barents Sea on 12 August 2000. All 118 Russian sailors aboard the submarine died. Kursk designer Igor Spassky recently told reporters that all of the torpedoes had either exploded or were destroyed in the accident.
21 September 2001 – The operation to raise nuclear submarine Kursk from the bottom of the Barents Sea has been postponed by a further two days to27 September, an official with the salvage company said. The extension to the programme was caused by the weather "which has necessitated some changes", Vyacheslav Zakharov, of the Russian office of the Netherlands-based Mammoet Company, told the Interfax news agency. The raising of the Kursk was originally set for 15 September, but accumulated delays due largely to bad weather put this back to Tuesday. A further five days will be required to tow the damaged submarine back to dry dock at Roslyakovo, near Murmansk, on the Kola peninsula. Meanwhile, the Norwegian environmentalist group, Bellona, warned that torpedoes inside the sunken Kursk nuclear submarine could explode when she is raised from the bottom of the Barents Sea. "We cannot know for sure what will happen with the torpedoes, if the bow containing them – which was detached from the rest of the Kursk 13 September and is not to be raised immediately – is moved during the lifting operation", said a Bellona official in Murmansk, in northern Russia, Lyubov Nikiforovna. The Russian navy announced that although the bow had been detached, it could not be 100 per cent sure it had been totally cut off from the rest of the ship, since part of it was hidden by mud. "We cannot be absolutely sure the bow was totally detached", Nikiforovna said. "If not, there could be dire consequences", she added.
26 September 2001 – A senior official in the Russian navy predicted that the wreck of the sunken nuclear submarine Kursk would be raised from the sea floor no later than next Monday (1 October). "Weather permitting, the Kursk will be lifted between 30 September and 1 October", the Russian navy's Deputy Commander-in-Chief Mikhail Barskov said. However, weather forecasts for Sunday predicted high winds blowing and waves reaching up to 10ft with a possibility of snowfall. The final stage of the salvage will include budging the vessel from the sea bottom and the subsequent lifting by the barge Giant 4. Over the past two weeks, divers have been clearing the areas around the 26 apertures that had been cut on the sub's hull in order to attach heavy lifting cables. The effort also included fixing of gripper guides that should facilitate attachment of the cables through the drilled holes. According to Barskov, the towing operation to bring the Kursk and the lifting barge to the northern port of Roslyakovo will take between two and three days. Originally, the completion of the salvage effort was scheduled for 15-20 September, but that deadline was violated as occasional spells of bad weather and unforeseen technical problems slowed progress. Barskov this week revealed estimated figures of the Kursk's subsequent destruction, saying that around $60 million will be needed to destroy the vessel once it is raised. This year's salvage effort aims to lift only part of the vessel as the Kursk's first compartment that contained the torpedo bay was left on the sea bed and will be lifted by the Russian navy next year.
30 September 2001 – A heavy storm in the Barents Sea has delayed the final phase of the operation to lift the submarine Kursk from the seabed. It is hoped the weather will ease tomorrow or Tuesday (2 October) to allow the lifting to take place, but any further delay could put the operation in peril as the Arctic winter draws in. Dutch contractors leading the operation to salvage the main part of the submarine have left the area until the weather settles.
30 September 2001 – Russian officials said today a violent storm which had threatened to disrupt preparations to raise submarine Kursk had blown over the Barents Sea site and work would restart soon. Worsening weather yesterday forced all but one of the vessels involved in the operation to pull up anchor and start dodging the waves. Several vessels had to leave the area, some 100km off the Kola peninsula.
1 October 2001 – Dutch salvage teams said today they planned to resume work within hours on raising submarine Kursk from the Arctic seabed after a storm forced a two-day halt. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov, who arrived at Northern Fleet headquarters in Severomorsk, held talks with navy commanders to agree a new schedule for the operation, already running two weeks late.
1 October 2001 – The final stage of the salvage effort to raise Russia's sunken nuclear submarine Kursk started today as weather in the Barents Sea improved, allowing the rescuers to proceed with their effort. Russian and Dutch officials coordinating the effort decided to allow the attachment of the heavy lifting cables to the wreck and its subsequent move off the seabed. The effort was halted Friday (28 September) due to a cyclone near the Kola Peninsula cancelling all underwater operations. Dutch company Smit International representative Lars Walder said officials had decided to raise the submarine, with the first steps scheduled for about 1700. A total of 26 guiding cables will be attached to the wreck's hull. Walder added that after some 60 hours of attaching the cables, the Kursk's hoisting would take about 12 hours. After she is raised from the sea floor, both the wreck and the barge Giant 4 will be towed to a dock in the Roslyakovo shipyard in north-west Russia.
2 October 2001 – The final preparations to raise the wreck of the Russian submarine Kursk got off to a slow start today but officials said this was unlikely to ruin the timetable for the operation. The salvagers are racing to grasp and hoist the 18,000 tonne vessel from the bed of the Barents Sea before the end of a forecasted five-day spell of calm weather. Lifting the nuclear wreck in stormy seas is far too dangerous. Vladimir Navrotsky, spokesman for the Northern Fleet which oversees the operation for Russia, said it had taken divers working for the Dutch contractor Mammoet 12 hours to slide the first two of 26 "grippers" into the body of the submarine. The grippers are special fold-out anchors lowered into pre-cut holes in the submarine's hull along guiding cables. The lifting is due to take place immediately after all the grippers are in place. Mammoet officials said yesterday they expected to bring the wreck to the surface and ship it to dry dock near the port of Murmansk by the end of the week. The Kursk is due first to be dry-docked at the town of Roslyakovo, outside Murmansk, for an inspection by investigators and forensic experts. Workers will also cut out its arsenal of cruise missiles there. Afterwards, the wreck will be sealed and towed to the nearby shipyard at Snezhnogorsk where its nuclear fuel will be unloaded and the vessel fully dismantled.
3 October 2001 – Rough Arctic weather has postponed an effort to raise sunken nuclear submarine Kursk, the president of a Dutch company in charge of the salvage effort said today. Frans van Seumeren, president of the Mammoet company which is working to raise the submarine with Smit International, said they would not be able to meet the latest target date, tomorrow. "I think we must more think about the weekend or the beginning of next week", van Seumeren said. Final preparations for raising the Kursk began late on Monday (1 October) when divers began attaching lifting cables onto the submarine's hull. Semi-submersible pontoon barge Giant 4, in position over the Kursk, will hoist the submarine. However, strong winds and high seas have been rolling the heavy cables, making it hard for the divers to plug them into holes in the submarine's hull. Divers so far have attached only six of 26 lifting cables, van Seumeren said. Despite the slow pace of work and uncertainty about the weather, van Seumeren said he was optimistic the mission would be completed. The Kursk was originally to be raised 15 September, but the operation has been delayed repeatedly because of storms and technical difficulties. Once the cables are plugged in, the lifting will take about 12 hours, and will require calm seas. If the weather turns foul during the raising, Dutch consortium officials said they might hasten the lifting or temporarily lower the submarine back to the seabed and loosen the cables. Once the Kursk is raised and clamped under the pontoon, it will be towed to a dry dock near Murmansk. The Russian navy plans to remove the remains of the crew and 22 Granit supersonic cruise missiles, before dismantling the submarine.
5 October 2001 – Divers have resumed the salvage operation of nuclear submarine Kursk, following delays caused by unexpected Arctic storms. But the company running the operation said it could not say for sure when the actual lifting of the vessel would begin. Poor weather delayed the preparations and the team needed three or four days of calm seas to finish the work and another half-day to lift the craft. The company's spokeswoman said meteorologists have predicted a spell of fairly calm seas until at least the end of the week. Divers still have to attach 19 of the 26 cables which will haul the wreck to the surface.
7 October 2001 – The operation to lift the sunken nuclear submarine Kursk is entering its final stages after divers fitted all of the 26 cables needed to raise the vessel from the sea floor. It could mean the Kursk will be lifted tomorrow, Russia's deputy prime minister said. Lars Walder, a spokesman for the Dutch Mammoet-Smit International consortium working to raise the vessel, said in the port city of Murmansk that all 26 cables were attached, the Interfax and ITAR-Tass news agencies reported. He said all the cables had been fixed to the submarine's hull and "this stage in the lifting operation can be considered completed", Interfax said. But Capt. Igor Babenko, deputy head of Russia's Northern Fleet, said four of the cables still needed to be tested before the lifting operation can begin. The lifting cables were attached this week after being lowered from the Giant 4 barge that will raise the submarine to the surface. The lifting operation will require calm seas and will take around 12 hours. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov, who is overseeing the recovery effort, said yesterday that if the weather remains calm, "we will be able to accomplish the raising of the submarine on Monday(8 October)." Russian officials said the submarine, lying 108m below the surface of the Barents Sea, must be raised because its twin nuclear reactors were a source of potential danger to the environment. After the operation to raise the Kursk, the submarine will be clamped under the barge. It will then be towed to a dry dock in Roslyakovo near the port of Murmansk. Once in dock, the Navy will remove the remains of the crew and 22 Granit supersonic cruise missiles.
8 October 2001 – The Russian nuclear submarine, Kursk, has been lifted from the bed of the Barents Sea and is heading towards shore. We have started putting pressure on the stem of the Kursk to see if it can break out of the mud, said Mammoet spokeswoman Larissa van Seumeren. The vessel, which sank last year killing all 118 people on board, has not yet been brought all the way to the surface. But a giant barge has already begun to drag it towards a floating dock near Murmansk as the salvage team takes advantage of a spell of clear weather to try to complete the much-delayed operation. The lifting had originally been scheduled for mid-September and the approaching Arctic winter raised concerns that the operation might not be completed this year. The barge is now expected to reach port tomorrow. Divers have spent the past seven days attaching 26 massive cables from the Giant-4 barge to holes cut in the hull of the wreck. The Dutch salvage company Mammoet said the submarine had been less deeply embedded in the seabed than thought. The Kursk will be towed to Roslyakovo dock "The vessel is completely loose now and free from mud. It came off quite easily, easier than we expected", Mammoet spokeswoman Larissa van Seumeren said. The lifting began shortly before 0400. The barge raised its anchor and began to drag it slowly inland at 1100. Divers have been inspecting the operation every hour, checking radiation levels and the angle between the barge and the submarine. There have been fears of a possible radiation leak but levels are still said to be normal.
8 October 2001 – Nuclear submarine Kursk docked safely with a salvage barge today, a marathon operation raising it from the frigid Arctic seabed more than a year after it sank with the loss of all 118 crew. Interfax quoted Larissa van Seumeren, spokeswoman for Dutch salvage contractors Mammoet, as saying the Kursk had been secured to barge Giant 4 around 1900, local time. The news agency quoted her as saying the barge was now heading with the Kursk towards dry-dock in the town of Roslyakovo, outside the northern port city of Murmansk. The journey is expected to take two days.
10 October 2001 – Barge Giant 4 neared shore today carrying submarine Kursk, its two nuclear reactors and the remains of Russian sailors killed when it exploded and sank more than a year ago. The wreckage of the Kursk, raised from the Barents Sea on Monday(8 October) in an unprecedented operation led by a Dutch consortium, was expected to arrive in the port of Roslyakovo around midday, Moscow time. The docking procedure is expected to take a week. The barge was being escorted by vessels that will check to make sure the reactors are not leaking radiation. The condition of the Kursk's two 190mW nuclear reactors has been a source of concern since the submarine exploded and sank during a naval exercise in August of last year, killing its entire 118-man crew. Officials have said the reactors were safely shut down at the time and leaked no radiation. Measurements conducted during the operation to lift the 18,000 ton vessel and as it was being hauled to Roslyakovo, near Murmansk, have shown no trace of radiation, Northern Fleet chief Admiral Vyacheslav Popov said. Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov, who is in charge of the Kursk salvage effort in the Russian Cabinet, insisted the reactors would remain safe. Northern Fleet spokesman Capt. Vladimir Navrotsky said new comprehensive radiation measurements would be conducted before the submarine is put in dry dock. That would involve cutting holes in the reactor compartment and taking water samples to make sure no radiation leaks into the atmosphere. Once the Kursk is docked, officials will remove the remains of the crew to prevent damaging contact with the air. Navrotsky said officials expect to find 30 or 40 bodies, because the others aboard likely were probably pulverised by the powerful explosions that sank the submarine. The Kursk sank after a practice torpedo exploded, causing the detonation of regular torpedoes that ripped the submarine apart. Despite the reassurances from officials, concern about a possible radiation leak has prompted Roslyakovo officials to work out evacuation plans and boost medical supply stores. Another reason for concern was the condition of the Kursk's 22 supersonic Granit cruise missiles. "Unloading missiles is dangerous even in normal conditions", Popov said. "We are taking extra safety precautions." If it proves impossible to safely lift the missiles from their containers, the Navy is prepared to cut them out of the Kursk's hull together with containers, Popov said. He did not say when the missiles would be removed, but estimated it would take at least a year to dismantle the submarine, along with its nuclear reactors and missiles.
11 October 2001 – The battered nuclear submarine Kursk reached shore in sunny but chilly weather today, 14 months after she exploded and sank, killing her entire 118-man crew. The barge Giant 4, hauling the submarine, pulled into a Russian shipyard's waters in the final stage of a salvage effort made riskier by the vessel's two nuclear reactors and missile arsenal. On Monday(8 October), a Dutch consortium finished raising the Kursk from the Barents Sea floor. Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov, who is in charge of the salvage effort in the Russian Cabinet, insisted the reactors would remain safe. "If there had been a one-in-a-million chance that something would happen, we would never had carried out the operation in Roslyakovo," Klebanov said. Concern about a possible radiation leak prompted Roslyakovo officials to work out contingency evacuation plans and beef up stocks of iodine. Another reason for concern was the condition of the Kursk's 22 supersonic Granit cruise missiles. If it proves impossible to lift missiles out of their containers in a normal fashion, the Navy is prepared to cut them out of the Kursk's hull together with containers, Popov said. He did not say when the missiles would be removed, but estimated that it would take at least a year to dismantle the submarine along with its nuclear reactors and missiles. While the most cumbersome part is nearing an end, much work remains to be done on the Kursk. Once it is put in dry dock, officials will take out remains of the crew to prevent damaging contact with the air. Navrotsky said officials only hope to find 30 to 40 bodies, because remains of others were likely blown to dust by powerful explosions that sank the submarine. At least 23 sailors survived the crash for hours in the stern compartments, according to letters found when divers entered the vessel last fall and recovered 12 bodies. It took the Dutch Mammoet-Smit International consortium just over 15 hours to lift the submarine, which was lying 356ft below the surface, on steel cables lowered from the 26,400 ton barge. The immaculate operation cost the Russian government $65 million. The government hopes to determine the cause of the Kursk's sinking. But skeptics say key clues to what caused the disaster are in the mangled bow, which was sawed off and left on the seabed out of fear it could destabilize the lifting. The navy plans to raise all or part of the bow next year.
11 October 2001 – The docking of the wreck of the nuclear submarine Kursk has been postponed until next week. Russian naval officials said the decision had been taken because of the need to more thoroughly prepare for the delicate process. Once in dry dock, officials will begin the task of removing both the remains of the crew and the submarine's armaments. The submarine was also carrying 22 Granit cruise missiles which officials have said are dangerous to unload "even in normal conditions". The preparations for the docking began as scheduled today when Dutch and Russian experts began attaching the two huge pontoons needed to hoist the submarine into dry dock at a ship-repair plant in Roslyakovo, near Murmansk. However, the docking, which had previously been set for Saturday (13 October) afternoon, was put off until an unspecified day next week, said Russian Northern Fleet spokesman Captain Vladimir Navrotsky. He said the decision to put off the docking was made on the request of Dutch engineers who said they wanted to make additional calculations and checks to ensure that the bulky combination of barge, submarine and pontoons enters the dock without a hitch. "Because of the unique character and complexity of the docking, we agreed to perform it next week", Navrotsky told the Associated Press. "There must be no rush."
15 October 2001 – The Russian Navy is having trouble getting the wrecked nuclear submarine Kursk into a dry dock because of problems with the giant pontoons meant to lift its bulk, officials said today. Northern Fleet spokesman Vladimir Navrotsky said that "a number of technical problems that need further study" had slowed down the docking operation. Navy experts were working to improve the locking devices that must secure the pontoons to the barge that is carrying the Kursk's wreck beneath it, Navrotsky said, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency. They were also conducting extra checks on the pontoons' pumps and draining devices. The Kursk was raised from the Barents Sea floor by a Dutch consortium on 8 October, more than a year after it sank during a naval exercise, killing the entire 118 man crew. The submarine was hoisted from the seabed on 26 steel cables attached to a huge barge in an unprecedented naval salvage operation. The wreck, secured beneath barge Giant 4, arrived at a shipyard at Roslyakovo, near Murmansk, last Wednesday (10 October), where preparations commenced to put it in the Russian navy's largest dock. Docking the submarine requires both strength and delicacy because of fears that any sharp move could destabilize its two nuclear reactors or its 22 supersonic Granit cruise missiles, each of which contains about a ton of explosives. Officials said constant measurements have shown that the reactors have not leaked any radiation. During the docking operation, the two huge pontoons must be firmly locked to the barge, then filled with water and afterwards drained to create enough force to raise the barge and the submarine about 26ft. Officials initially planned to start the docking over the weekend but later postponed it, saying extra time was needed to prepare. Navrotsky did not say when the docking was now scheduled to take place.
20 October 2001 – The barge carrying the wreck of Russian nuclear submarine Kursk is due to enter dry dock in the port of Murmansk tomorrow after a new delay in the recovery operation. Russian and Dutch salvage teams decided to suspend work on moving the wreck today after it was decided that the operation would have to be modified, the Russian navy said. The personnel involved are anxious to avoid any sudden moves as they bring in the 18,000 ton vessel, which is still carrying twin nuclear reactors and 22 Granit cruise missiles. The Dutch salvage firm involved, Mammoet, has moved to allay fears about the reactors, saying that radiation levels are monitored 24 hours a day and there has been no problem so far. Once the Kursk has been docked, operations will begin to recover weapons and bodies, and find out what went wrong. The bow, which remains on the seabed and is believed by many to hold the key to the explosions, is due to be recovered separately next year. However, the Russian naval officer directing the operation, Vice-Admiral Mikhail Barskov, has said that the bow is in such poor condition it cannot be lifted as a whole. "It doesn't exist", he said. He added that seven fragments of the bow had been removed when the main part of the submarine was lifted free.
21 October 2001 – The final phase of the recovery of wrecked Russian submarine Kursk has been completed. Barge Giant 4 pulled the wreck into a dry dock in Roslyakovo near Murmansk, the Russian news agency Itar-Tass reported. A team of technicians will now start to recover the bodies of most of the 118 crew which the wreck is believed to contain.
29 October 2001 – Forensic experts fought off exhaustion today to retrieve the bodies of sailors from the wreck of the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk, now in dry dock after being hoisted from the Arctic deep. Working around the clock in shifts, investigators scouring the dank and mangled hulk in the Arctic port of Roslyakovo found five bodies overnight to add to 40 already discovered since the sub was brought ashore. In addition, they were due to start unloading 22 cruise missiles which appeared to have survived intact. Investigators believe the wreck will provide many clues to the cause of the blasts, but say a definitive answer may only become possible when the bow section is raised. It was sawn off and left on the seabed and is due to be raised next year.
29 October 2001 – Investigators today pulled three cruise missiles, data recorders and five more bodies from nuclear submarine Kursk, while a top Cabinet official expressed hope the probe would explain what caused one of Russia's worst naval disasters. "We are getting closer to finding the reason", Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov, who is in charge of the salvage effort, said on Russian NTV television. Klebanov said again that it was the explosion of one of the Kursk's torpedoes that sank the submarine during naval manoeuvres on 12 August 2000, killing its entire crew of 118. However, he said it was still unclear what triggered the torpedo blast, repeating that it could have been an internal malfunction or a collision with another vessel or a World War II mine. The submarine was lifted from the Barents Sea floor and brought to dry dock last week for investigation. Klebanov said a dent visible on the submarine's side could be either the trace of a collision or the result of an internal explosion that was so powerful it could have caused the submarine's double hull to cave inward, making it look like an outside impact. Investigators have also found devices that recorded parameters of the functioning of the submarine's systems and the submarine's logs, which could shed light on the cause of the catastrophe, said Artur Yegiyev, a senior official of the Prosecutor General's office, the Interfax news agency reported. Navy specialists today removed the first three of the Kursk's 22 Granit cruise missiles and put them in special containers for transport. The missiles were taken out without problems, though officials had feared damage to the hull could complicate the extraction. Five more bodies were also pulled out, bringing the total retrieved since last week to 45. The search for more bodies was complicated by the need to cut through the maze of mangled metal in the submarine's forward sections. Spokesman for the top prosecutor's office, Leonid Troshin, said work was stopped briefly today because some compartments had to be cleared of high concentrations of life-threatening hydrogen sulphide. Forensic experts have identified 18 bodies, and they were being flown to their families throughout Russia. Memorial services were held in Tomsk, Ufa and Lipetsk today. The number of bodies retrieved was higher than the Russian Navy's initial forecast, which predicted it would find the remains of only 30-40 sailors. In addition, 12 bodies were retrieved by divers who examined the Kursk on the bottom of the Barents Sea last year. Officials said many of the crewmen were in the front of the submarine, and that their bodies could not be retrieved because they were destroyed by the explosions. Klebanov voiced hope that the $65 million international salvage operation would bolster public confidence in the government of President Vladimir Putin, who promised to raise the Kursk last year after a bungled handling of the disaster.
22 August 2001 – Baltic Carrier (Marshall Islands)
The official investigation into the collision between chemical tanker Baltic Carrier and bulk Tern off the Danish coast in March has confirmed that an unexplained failure of the steering gear on board Baltic Carrier was responsible for the incident. The report into the collision attributes the collision to a technical error in the steering system, although specialist investigators were not able to discover the precise cause of the error. However, the report reveals that two weeks after the collision another vessel had suffered steering problems in the same sea area, giving rise to suspicions that the presence of underwater cables in the vicinity might have caused the steering gear to behave erratically. Danish authorities located magnetic fields in the area but concluded that magnetic disturbance or electromagnetic compatibility was unlikely. However the latest investigation did not rule out such interference, and it is noted that equipment on board the tanker was "EMC vulnerable". It also suggests that the steering control software might be deficient, but this had not been investigated. The two vessels were approaching each other on reciprocal courses along the deepwater route between Denmark and Germany, and expected to pass each other port to port at a distance of 0.5nm. But with the vessel about 1.2 miles apart, the helmsman on the tanker told the master he was unable to keep the vessel on course. Baltic Carrier took a sheer to port, despite hard starboard helm being applied. The steering was switched to the alternative system and control of the rudder was restored, but with the distance between the two vessels now 0.75m, the master of the tanker elected to continue to port to try to pass ahead of the bulk carrier. He was unsuccessful in this manoeuvre and the bow of Tern sliced through the double hull and into the starboard No. 6 tank. The Danish investigators discovered that the tanker, constructed by Hyundai Heavy Industries last year, had gone aground in the Rotterdam approaches after experiencing steering trouble last August, but had been trouble free since. No deficiencies were discovered to the Tokimec steering controls, which the owners of the vessel had replaced after the collision, but handed over to the Danish authorities. The investigators also suggested that the choice of the narrow deepwater channel might have been a contributing factor as both vessels could have safely navigated further apart. It was also suggested that the fact that the bulk's watch-keeper had been in the chartroom when the tanker suddenly altered course towards them might have reduced the time available for evasive action.
25 August 2001 – Arctic Rose (USA)
A Coast Guard organized expedition to explore the sunken fishing Arctic Rose got new glimpses of the vessel yesterday with the help of a remote-controlled video camera more than 400ft below the Bering Sea. But it also ran in to trouble as flailing lines entangled the equipment, forcing investigators to retrieve the camera for repairs before trying again last night. "This has been a frustrating day to say the least", said Capt. Ron Morris, head of a three-man Board of Investigation into the 2 April sinking of the Seattle-based fishing vessel that claimed 15 lives. In July, a remote operating vehicle (ROV) equipped with a video camera beamed back images of the bow of the vessel sitting upright on the sandy bottom. But the Arctic Rose lines caught the ROV, and the cable broke. Efforts to get a look at the wreck earlier this week were hampered by high seas. As the weather calmed yesterday, strong surface currents made it difficult to manoeuvre the ROV in more than 400ft of water. Yesterday afternoon's video offered brief glimpses of the port side of the vessel but apparently no new revelations. Morris said the weather was expected to worsen today. The vessel carrying investigators is due back in port Monday (27 August), and another round of hearings on the sinking is scheduled next week in Seattle.
26 August 2001 – The US Coast Guard's second expedition to explore sunken fishing Arctic Rose has yielded at least one more clue to the circumstances of the mysterious 2 April Bering Sea tragedy which claimed 15 lives. In a lengthy exploration on Friday (24 August), the Coast Guard-organised team saw a door which appeared to be open. Operating rules called for the door to be closed to create a watertight seal between a processing-room and the vessel's deck. Capt. Ron Morris, chairman of a Coast Guard board investigating the sinking of the Seattle-based Arctic Rose, said video would be reviewed to confirm that the door was open. According to the Arctic Rose's operating instructions, the door was supposed to be kept closed to prevent seawater from getting into the processing room and undermining the vessel's stability. The 92ft Arctic Rose apparently sank suddenly, with no reports of a Mayday signal from the crew. Only one body was retrieved. The Coast Guard board is attempting to find the cause of the sinking, the worst loss of life of a US fishing vessel in a half century. The board's final report will recommend ways to improve safety in the fishing industry. Morris and two other members of the investigation team are now returning to Dutch Harbour on board chartered fishing Ocean Explorer. The Coast Guard officials have worked on board Ocean Explorer with a team from Puyallup-based maritime consultants. The team has conducted the undersea exploration in more than 400ft of water with a remote operating vehicle, which is equipped with a video camera. Morris said the rudder of the Arctic Rose appeared bent, but that could have happened after the vessel sank, as she hit the sandy sea bottom. The open door to the processing room, if confirmed in subsequent video reviews, could be significant. Testimony by former crew members at hearings earlier this summer indicated that it was frequently left open. If a leak put the stern under, then water could quickly rush into the processing-room and cause the vessel to go under. The Arctic Rose is believed to have sunk around 0330, 2 April, the time that the vessel's emergency locator beacon began broadcasting a signal to satellites. The Coast Guard-organized exploration team is expected to arrive back in Dutch Harbour early tomorrow morning.