“Kursk” was sunk by British submarine, alleges former Russian submariner
The "Kursk" nuclear-powered submarine, which sank on August 12 in the Barents Sea, had been rammed by a smaller British submarine of the Trafalgar type, writes S. Dmitriyev, former submariner, in a letter to Komsomolskaya Pravda. The two vessels collided when they were "maneuvering in order to restore a lost sonar contact." During the collision a Tomahawk missile on board the British submarine detonated. There were two blasts.
As a result of a frontal blow and the subsequent explosions, Dmitriyev writes, the tip of the nose part of the "Kursk" was totally destroyed, while the British submarine fell into pieces. Its big fragments, weighting about one ton each, furrowed along the "Kursk" starboard, tore its outer thin hull, smashed off the upper lid of the surfacing chamber and damaged the message buoy (which was filled with water and could not surface) and jammed the upper lid of the escape hatch (which doomed the crew in the compartments of the aft part to slow death during the next three days without any hope for rescue), the submariner writes in an e-mail letter to the paper.
After that, both the "Kursk" and what remained of the British submarine were moving by inertia (the "Kursk" made a 150-meter furrow in the bottom) and sank at a distance of about 300 meters from each other. After the blast two radio buoys surfaced and was sending a coded emergency signal during 10 minutes. After that two NATO Orion planes appeared over the disaster site.
On August 12 to 19 submersible vehicles of the Russian navy, a deep-see hydronautic control station of the Chief Intelligence Department of the Russian Armed Forces and deep-see divers were surveying the "Kursk" under the guise of a "rescue operation," trying to recover secret equipment and documents. Simultaneously the main work was being done on the British submarine, from which documents, equipment and a few nuclear warheads of its Tomahawks were retrieved. Only after that, Dmitriyev writes, was the British LR-5 submersible vehicle allowed to arrive at the disaster site. Having seen a heap of metal at the bottom, the British left the area for a time.
Early in September some bodies of seamen were retrieved from the 9th and possibly the 3rd compartments of the "Kursk." Now the main problem was to bury the reactor and the primary loop (circuit) of the British nuclear-powered submarine (the loop had been torn during the accident) and to recover the surviving nuclear warheads. This was done by the U.S. (not Norwegian) "Regalia" service platform. At the same time, the 8th compartment of the "Kursk" was opened.
The three-month period of the British submarine's cruising capacity has expired, Dmitriyev writes in conclusion, and soon we shall hear a report a about a wreck of a British submarine somewhere in the South Atlantic on in the Indian Ocean.
Komsomolskaya Pravda gives its arguments for and against Dmitriyev's version. Among the latter are:
- the upper lid of the surfacing escape chamber was not torn off but remained in its place;
- the survey of the emergency message buoy showed that it did not surface because its clamps were jammed during a blow (or a blast), but not because it was filled with water;
- there were not two but about five Orion planes flying over the disaster area;
- no nuclear-powered deep-see hydronautic control station exists in the naval rescue service.
Meanwhile, Igor Spassky, chief designer of the Rubin bureau where the "Kursk" had been designed, said on November 10 that "in the first days after the accident a magnetic field, which could be produced by a large metallic object lying on the bottom, was registered" at the disaster site. "At present, the seabed in the disaster area is being studied," he said.
It was officially reported that the second compartment of the "Kursk" was destroyed and divers could not enter the third one because it was crammed with broken metal equipment, while they could enter the fourth compartment with difficulty but could not advance. After that it was reported that a logbook was recovered from the "Kursk," though it should have been in the second compartment. How could it be found in a compartment, which could not be entered? Komsomolskaya Pravda wonders.
The paper writes further that Anatoly Kvashnin, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, requested the NATO command on Thursday that the suspected ships and submarines of the North Atlantic alliance be allowed to be examined in order to check the version of a collision of the "Kursk" with the suspected NATO submarines. The NATO command is thinking it over, Kvashnin said.