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Weather delays Kursk operation

Kursk graphic
The plan: A barge will raise the Kursk, leaving the nose on the seabed  

MOSCOW, Russia -- Bad weather is pushing back the timetable for raising the wreck of the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk.

Rough seas have slowed down the progress of divers attaching cables to the Kursk from a barge that will be used to winch the submarine to the surface.

The Dutch-led team had hoped the winching could begin this week but now it will not be possible to begin the operation until next week.

And the divers are in a race against time with winter weather closing in on the Barents Sea where the Kursk sank.

The Barents Sea storm season, which begins during October, could rule out further attempts to raise the submarine until after the winter.

graphic Raising of the Kursk

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Bad weather and technical problems have already seen the first deadline -- September 15 -- for raising the submarine pass.

Frans van Seumeren, president of the Mammoet company which is working to raise the Kursk with another Dutch company, Smit International, was quoted by The Associated Press as saying: "I think we must more think about the beginning of next week, or the weekend."

The Kursk -- one of Russia most modern nuclear-powered submarines -- sank in August 2000, killing all 118 sailors on board, while on exercises in the Barents Sea.

Divers have attached six of the 26 cables needed to raise hoist the Kursk to the surface.

Russian officials have said the Kursk sank after a faulty torpedo set off a series of explosions last August -- but what caused the initial blast remains a mystery.

Once it is raised, the Kursk's body will be transported to a dry dock, where experts are to examine the wreck for clues as to what caused Russia's worst naval disaster.


• Kursk Operation
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