Daily Event for August 12

August 12, 2000: In the Barents Sea the Russian submarine Kursk exploded and sank. Since the story of the Kursk is very well known I will only hit the highlights. One hundred and eighteen men were on board. It was learned later that twenty three survived the sinking. Because of the lack of response equipment and the reluctance of the Russian Navy to ask for help these men were doomed. After the Kursk was raised and examined the Russians determined that a faulty torpedo had leaked its fuel and created a chain reaction of explosions in the forward torpedo room. The explosion was recorded on seismological equipment in Norway and on U.S. subs, which were monitoring the Russian exercise.

Much speculation has been made as to why the Kursk sank. Conspiracy theories have surrounded the story almost since day one. Ranging from a missile fired by one of the surface vessels to a collision with a U.S. sub. In the most extreme example the French produced a documentary claiming that the U.S. torpedoed the Kursk. Even though the evidence is quite clear that the sinking was an avoidable accident, nothing will ever convince everyone of that fact.

However the 118 who died on the Kursk may not have died in vain. The Russian authorities were quick to
respond and ask for help last week when a Russian mini-sub was trapped on the bottom of the Pacific. The seven men on board were rescued when a British team cut the debris fouling the propeller and freed the sub.
© 2005 Michael W. Pocock

Kursk K-141, date and location unknown.