Mayo leaves Kursk

Publish date: July 18, 2001

Written by: Igor Kudrik

Mayo heads for Kirkenes again; schedule moves; Mommoet is upset about the communication, while Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority is upset about lack of co-operation with Russian officials.

The ship Mayo will arrive to Kirkenes on July 19th. Russian officials say that the ship has to pick up equipment for cutting off the bow part of the Kursk in Kirkenes. The further schedule looks fuzzy. The head of Mommoet office in Russia, Vyacheslav Zakharov, says the communication between the different participants of the lifting operation should be better.

To slice torpedo section off starting in August 8th

Earlier official reports suggested the torpedo section of the submarine would be cut off by August 7th. Today the schedule for this part of the operation seems to be moving beyond August 8th.

Although the Mayo ship arrives to Kirkenes on July 19th, the equipment is has to pick up will be delivered from Amsterdam only in a week time, according to Vyacheslav Zakharov. Whether the ship will stay in Kirkenes the whole time is unclear.


Diving operation postponed

Although Russian officials said earlier that the divers would go down to the Kursk wreck on July 19th, this part of the operation was never to be started. According to Gennady Verich, who leads the team of the divers, there are nine Russian and British divers onboard Mayo. But Bellona’s sources say that at least a part of the British diving team had never left Kirkenes and they are still there, staying in one of the two town’s hotels.

Instead, Mayo was using equipment onboard to conduct a closer survey of the Kursk and to wash out the debris and sediments around the destroyed torpedo section, preparing to cut it off.

Journalists shipped to Kursk

99 journalists were shipped to the place of the Kursk wreck to watch the Barents Sea on Klavdiya Yelanskaya boat, operated by Murmansk Shipping Company. The ship came back to Murmansk on July 18th.

On the way out of the Kola Bay, the journalists could see the dry dock at shipyard No. 82, where the Kursk is to be placed. The dock was occupied by nuclear powered cruiser Peter the Great. The cruiser according to the plans will join the lifting operation, given it is repaired on time.


The planned interview with the head of the whole lifting operation, Rear-Admiral Mikhail Motsak, was done through radio. Russian official news agencies reported the weather was bad, preventing the admiral to arrive onboard Klavdiya Yelanskaya from battleship Severomorsk to hold a press conference. The weather was fine, however, according to the journalists, who were on the trip.

Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority given no risk assessment or access

The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority, NRPA, held a press conference after meeting of the Norwegian governmental Committee on Nuclear Accidents. The meeting was solely devoted to the upcoming Kursk lifting operation.

The head of NRPA, Ole Harbitz, said at the press conference that even the worst-case scenarios would lead to no harmful damage of the environment or human health. But what upset Mr Harbitz most of all was the denial of the Russian officials to co-operate with NRPA on any matters regarding the lifting operation. The NRPA was denied access to monitor the situation during the operation. Russian officials provided no risk assessment information either.

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