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Raising of the Kursk

By protocadherin in News
Sun Oct 14, 2001 at 02:21:06 PM EST
Tags: News (all tags)

The Russians and Dutch salvage firms Mammoet and Smit have succeeded in raising a large portion of the Kursk from the bottom of the Barents Sea, followed by transportation of the submarine to port. Perhaps this will help solve the mystery of what caused the original sinking of the Kursk.

However, the question remains whether or not recovery of the ship was worth the 65 million dollars spent on the process, considering the conditions of both the Russia military and economy.


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Raising of the Kursk | 13 comments (8 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
Heh (4.57 / 7) (#2)
by trhurler on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 05:11:39 PM EST

The section they didn't raise conveniently happens to be the section that initially experienced explosions. In other news, foriegn intelligence services of several nations believe the Russians were testing their already-known-to-exist supercavitating torpedoes, and that a misfire caused the sinking. Needless to say, that being a technology akin to nuclear weapons in terms of the way it would change warfare, the Russians wouldn't be eager to admit anything about it at all in public, let alone that a test failed.

Of course, it could also have been a failure of a conventional torpedo, or an idiot not following procedures, or any number of other things, but isn't it odd that they want to "investigate" by examining all parts of the boat except the one that might have real clues in it? :)

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

A rational explanation (4.75 / 4) (#5)
by HiQ on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 05:53:55 AM EST

I saw a documentary on TV the other day, drawing a parallel between this accident and an accident with a British submarine in the 50's. The British sub had a new kind of torpedo on board, which used hydrogen peroxide instead of compressed air for fuelling the engine. Apparantly hydrogen peroxide can react rather violently with metals like copper, thus producing lots of steam. The increased pressure creates a huge explosion, triggering a fire and the subsequent exploding of all the other torpedoes.

There was more evidence for this theory in the form of seismic readings from a British geological institution. They registered the explosion of the Kursk, but the big explosion was preceeded by a much smaller explosion. This smaller explosion had the signature and size of an exploding hydrogen peroxide fuel tank. Apparantly the Russians use peroxide in their torpedoes, and if this accident had the same cause as the British disaster from the 50's, the accident was caused by starting the engine of the torpedo whilst still in the submarine. The propellor doesn't have any resistence then, the engine revs too high and the subsequent increase in pressure in the system can lead to a rupture of the fuel and peroxide leading to the engine. The released peroxide reacts with the copper pipes in the torpedo, leading to the first explosion.

BTW it is not a coincedence that the nose isn't being salvaged: the nose has been so severely damaged that they cannot attach lines to it. So it would be very hard to keep the sub in balance whilst hoisting it to the surface without being able to attach cables to it. They plan to salvage the nose section next year.

[ Parent ]
US Sub too (4.00 / 2) (#9)
by wiredog on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 10:49:29 AM EST

The Scorpion went down in the 60's, apparently due to a torpedo cooking off.

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
[ Parent ]
supersonic torpedoes (3.50 / 2) (#8)
by driph on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 07:11:26 AM EST

You're the first I've seen to mention that, and I'm surprised it was never picked up by the news. I happened to read an article on the torpedo technology that was being tested maybe a month or so before the Kursk accident, and followed the news with interest, assuming that a misfire might have been the cause of the sinking.

Never heard anything about that, but the everchanging Russian explanation in the early days after the accident, the presence of additional staffing on the sub, and the refusal to allow (Finnish?) divers onto the scene seemed to point that it may have been the case.

Vegas isn't a liberal stronghold. It's the place where the rich and powerful gamble away their company's pension fund and strangle call girls in their hotel rooms. - Psycho Dave
[ Parent ]

I am not Military (4.50 / 8) (#3)
by Phage on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 06:57:59 PM EST

But it strikes me that the price is quite low for the pay-off. You get to recover however many reactors and warheads it had, plus in hard times it is a good way to build morale by demonstrating to the troops that not only do you have the ability to raise the wreck, but that you care enough to try and recover the bodies.

Just my $0.02...

I don't find Heathens to be sexy, as a general rule.

Good point (3.50 / 2) (#6)
by protocadherin on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 11:57:29 AM EST

I was thinking of the problems that have been recently plaguing the Russian military (lack of money for adequate training of soldiers and maintenance of machinery). I figured spending that much on raising a dead ship would merely perpetuate the problem.

I failed however, to consider that the moral of your troops can sometimes be the most important factor for a successful military.

Either way, I doubt that Putin had much of a choice about the situation. The Russian people would not have supported him during the next election if he didn't do something about the situation.

[ Parent ]

Recovering the bodies is wrong. (4.33 / 6) (#10)
by SvnLyrBrto on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 02:50:47 PM EST

It's "good thing"(tm) to get those reactors off the seabed no doubt.

But bringing up the bodies is a "bad thing"(tm).

According to maratime tradition, the proper resting place for a sailor is at sea. And going down with your ship *IS* considered a proper burial. And a sunken ship *IS* a proper grave.

Almost every nation respects this. It's a damn shame that russia has chosen not to. And it's even worse that the Dutch, who have a much stronger maratime history than russia, have chosen to cooperate.

You know... even "evil three letter acronym agencies" respect this. When the CIA brought up that chunk of that Golf in project Jennifer, they found 19 bodies aboard. They were given a brief service, and RETURNED TO THE SEA.

Burial at sea is also proper for RETIRED sailors as well. The US Navy even honors requests (stipulated in the retiree's will) at to what KIND of ship they would like to be buried from.

(Humorous sub-note)Sumbariners (like *MY* dad), who have a traditional rivalry with the carrier guys, get a kick of stipulating that they are to be buried from an aircraft carrier. The idea is that it's supposed to tweak the noses of the carrier guys that they have to bury the remains of those "sneaky, glow-in-the-dark, submarine types".

Actually though, I doubt that it really bothers them. Despite rivalries, they're still ALL men of the sea.

So I can't see at all how it is good for russian morale to dig up a hundred or more PROPERLY BURIED bodies and stir them around just for the hell of it.

The proper thing to do would be to detach just the reactor section for recovery. And if any bodies were found, to IMMEDIATELY RETURN them to the sea.


Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

Thanks (none / 0) (#13)
by Phage on Sun Oct 14, 2001 at 06:41:20 PM EST

I never knew any of that ! Never too old to learn something new.
(To my shame, as both my grandfather and great grandfather died at sea during the battkes of Jutland and Dunkirk)

I don't find Heathens to be sexy, as a general rule.
[ Parent ]

Raising of the Kursk | 13 comments (8 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
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