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Kursk Lifted from Seabed - 2001-10-08

Much of the wreckage of the Russian nuclear powered submarine "Kursk" has been lifted from the seabed of the Barents Sea. Sunday, divers finished the last of the preparations to bring the Kursk to the surface. Twenty-six cables were attached to the hull of the submarine. They, in turn, were attached to a giant barge positioned directly over the submarine. The barge is hoisting the submarine to the surface, at a rate of 10 meters per hour. The entire lifting process is expected to take about 12 hours.

The barge will then tow the submarine into port, where its nuclear reactors will be removed and the submarine will be decommissioned. For safety reasons, the front section of the submarine, where the explosions occurred, was removed and will remain on the ocean floor. Russian officials said it was too badly damaged to be raised at this time. They plan to raise it in the future.

The Kursk sank more than a year ago, after explosions in the torpedo bay. All 118 people on board were killed.

During a meeting with relatives of those who died on the Kursk last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin promised the submarine would be raised and the bodies inside would be recovered.

Russian officials and environmentalists were also worried about the environmental consequences of leaving the submarine's nuclear reactors on the sea floor. So far, they have detected no problems, but say that, over time, the reactors could begin to degrade.