PRECISE NUMBER OF UNEXPLODED TORPEDOES IN KURSK SUB UNKNOWN

Nobody, including Igor Spasski, general director of the Central Design Bureau Rubin, can say how many unexploded torpedoes lie in the first compartment of the wrecked nuclear submarine Kursk. This is how Vladimir Navrotski, chief of the press service of the Northern Fleet, commented to RIA Novosti on media reports on pronouncements by Igor Kurdin of the submariners' club in St.Petersburg. Kurdin said, with reference to Spasski, that in the Kursk sub "four torpedoes detonated and the others still remain in the first compartment". (The submarine, which sank in the Barents sea last August, was designed by the Rubin bureau.) Navrotski said that divers did not visually inspect the first section because it was very dangerous. Subsea craft found that the inside of the compartment was "heaps of twisted metal, preventing whatever possibility of saying how many undetonated torpedoes, if any, were found inside". Navrotski called Kurdin's words "absurdity and invention". He also gave the lie to Kurdin's words that missiles were lying in the first section. "All the 24 launchers of Granit cruise missiles are located in between the third and fourth compartments of the Kursk", said Navrotski. The timeframe for lifting the Kursk is as before late summer-autumn, Navrotski reiterated. The sunken submarine is protected by a group of ships of the Northern Fleet. At the present moment it is guarded by an antisubmarine ship and a special radiation-monitoring vessel. Arriving daily information shows that the radiation background in the wreckage site is normal, said Navrotski.