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SSGN KURSK Salvage Operation

A special pontoon ship (The Giant) will be used to raise the Kursk from her watery grave, she will be fitted out in Amsterdam with 26 strand jacks, each of which can lift up to 900 tonnes. Deep-sea divers will attach 26 cables, each 23 centimeters in width to the Kursk to gently raise it to the surface with the help of a crane ship (The biggest floating crane "Tialf" which belongs to the Dutch firm Heerema will perform this section of the operation. Smit Tak International will lease out the pontoon which is 140 meters long and 36 meters wide).

At the same time the divers will start to remove the seriously damaged bow of the Kursk and cut holes in its hull. The Russian Navy together with the submarine's designer, Rubin, will determine the exact location of the holes based on the design of the submarine's interior. The holes will be cut using water jets by means of high-pressure water and abrasives. The Kursk's bow will be cut free and left on the seabed so that the rest of the vessel can later be lifted as a compact load.

They are working at a temperature of between 0 and 6 degrees Celsius. A section will also be required to be cut out from the pontoons to make room for the Kursk's conning tower. When the Kursk is fully prepared, the lifting cables (each made up of a large number of thinner cables) will be lowered from the pontoon and anchored in the holes in the Kursk using large steel plugs. The plugs have arms that unfold under the beams and the inner skin to provide a firm anchorage. Each of these attachment points will be tested at about twice the necessary force before the submarine is raised.

When the weather permits, the submarine will be raised to just below the pontoon. The lifting will be precisely controlled, centimeter by centimeter. The force on each bundle of cables can be set individually to minimize the tension on the Kursk's hull. The strand jacks will each pull bundles of 54 thinner cables (strands) by means of two telescopic cylinders. The impact of the swell of the sea will be reduced by heave compensators so that the force exerted on the attachment points on the Kursk is constant. Computers installed with comprehensive back-up systems will control the entire lifting process.

Once it has been raised, the Kursk will be towed to Murmansk hanging in serrated clamps. On arrival, the Giant/Kursk combination will be lifted by auxiliary pontoons in order to sail it into a dry dock at the Nerpa plant located at the mouth of the Olenya Guba bay in Russia's Arctic Murmansk region, where she will have her Grannit Cruise missiles (some of which were damaged in the explosion aboard Kursk) dismantled by cutting them out, complete inside their containers, removing warheads (Each warhead has explosive power equal to 618 kilogrammes of TNT, a blast area of 1,200 metres and a firing range of 555 kilometres) and boosters by experts in disposal and repair of Russia's nuclear-powered strategic and multi-purpose submarine fleet.

SSGN Kursk
Technical Specifications

The Events Leading To The Loss Of The Kursk
Death Of A Submarine.

The Men Who Lost Their Lives Aboard Submarine KURSK
Role of Honour

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Last updated by D Cohen 2 January 2002