'Kursk' successfully raised from sea-bed

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The Independent Online

The wreck of the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk was successfully raised in a risky 15-hour operation from the Arctic seabed where it has lain for more than a year.

The wreck of the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk was successfully raised in a risky 15-hour operation from the Arctic seabed where it has lain for more than a year.

Officials of the Russian northern fleet said the 18,000-ton submarine was successfully grappled by 26 high-tension cables and raised by powerful winches mounted on a barge 112 metres above.

Vice-Admiral Mikhail Motsak told journalists: "The emotion was very great when we heard this news, because it means the enormous efforts of our divers, sailors and technical experts have not been in vain. The Kursk is no longer lying at the bottom of the sea."

By yesterday evening, the vessel had been raisedand secured to the Giant-4 barge without mishap, the Russian navy's press service reported.

The Kursk went down with 118 crew members on board during Arctic war games 14 months ago, after two still- unexplained explosions ripped through its bow.

The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, vowed to raise the vessel and give a proper burial to its crew. But the operation, originally planned for mid-September, has been plagued by technical delays and bad weather.

The original plan was to lift the submarine and secure it beneath the huge, specially designed barge before towing it to a dry dock.

But officials of the Dutch Mammoet-Smit consortium, which is overseeing the work, said the towing operation had to be initiated before the Kurskwas fully raised, as weather at the site was deteriorating.

Environmentalists have expressed fears over the safety of the Kursk's two nuclear reactors, 22 Granit missiles and an unknown number of torpedoes.

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