Morale: Dishonoring Dead Sailors


April 1, 2009: There was a major embarrassment for the Russian navy recently, when part of a memorial for dead sailors was found, by local television reporters, in a salvage yard waiting to be melted down. This all began in August, 2000, when the Russian submarine Kursk sank, while submerged, because a faulty torpedo exploded in the tube while being launched. In late 2001, most of the sub, and the bodies of the 118 victims, was raised to the surface and taken to the Roslyakovo Shipyard on the Kola Peninsula (in northern Russia). There, it was announced that the "sail" (the structure that sits atop the fish like hull of modern subs) of the Kursk would be removed and used for a memorial to the lost sailors. The dead were buried and most of the Kursk was recycled as scrap.

The $22 million needed for the memorial was never delivered, or if it was, it disappeared. In the meantime, someone (no individual has been identified) sold the sail of the Kursk to a scrap yard, to be recycled along with the rest of the boat. Fortunately, the scrap yard wasn't all that efficient, as the Kursk sail has been sitting there for six years. Now, the admiral commanding the Northern Fleet has said he will personally see to it that the Kursk sail is secured. No word on the memorial.


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