Sunken K-159 submarine to be salvaged in 2005 summer

The K-195 nuclear submarine, sank last August, will be salvaged in the summer of 2005, Igor Dygalo, Captain 1st Rank, aide to the naval commander-in-chief, told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.

Way back in November 2003 the Russian government allocated the first sums to start salvaging preparations, he said.

A detailed study to opt for a salvaging version has already been made and now the design is in preparation.

"Salvaging work will be over in June 2004", Dygalo said.

"Last March a contract was signed to prepare a design adapting a ship of the Northern fleet to ensure divers' work at depths down to 300 meters. The adaptation design will be over in June 2004", he said.

The State Unitary Enterprise Rosoboronexport is looking into the purchase and supply of ship-raising means and mechanisms. "The Titov rescue ship of the Northern fleet has already been additionally equipped for work under the design", Dygalo said. With timely financing for all preparatory work, the salvaging operation and towing of the K-159 to the dismembering site will be done as planned in June-August of next year.

The discarded nuclear submarine K-159 was in tow to the city of Polyarny for utilisation. Its nuclear reactor had been rendered safe and the ammunition offloaded. Towing, with the help of four pontoons, to the ship-repair factory began on August 28. The pontoons broke off during a storm at about 04:00, Moscow time, on August 30 three miles off the Kildin island in the Barents sea at a 170-meter depth. Nine of the ten members of the mooring crew died, one was rescued.

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