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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Government Mulls Over Kursk Rescue

MURMANSK, Far North ? A top military officer suggested Wednesday that the government might decide against recovering the remains of crewmen from the sunken nuclear submarine Kursk, while another official said this week?s retrieval mission was delayed by bad weather.

Colonel General Valery Manilov told reporters that the government would make a decision "after an additional examination of the disaster site and the submarine itself," Interfax reported.

"The majority of the Kursk crew?s relatives are asking that the bodies not be retrieved," he was quoted as saying.

Click here to read our Special Report on the Kursk Tragedy.British, Scandinavian and Russian divers departed overnight from the Norwegian port of Hammerfest on the mother ship Regalia. They were expected to reach the site in the Barents Sea where the submarine sank early Friday, said Birger Haraldseid, a spokesman for the Norwegian subsidiary of Halliburton. The Dallas-based oil services company is working with the Russia?s Rubin military design bureau to organize the recovery.

Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov said that a gale had buffeted the sea Wednesday and said that the recovery work would begin only when the weather improved. But Haraldseid said the weather was fine.

"I talked to the radio room on board [the Regalia] and they said there was exceptionally nice weather," Haraldseid said. "We have not received any word to hold back."

All 118 seamen on board the Kursk died in the Aug. 12 accident, when the submarine sank after being torn by an explosion. Officials have not yet determined the cause.

Officials have issued increasingly pessimistic predictions of whether any remains can be recovered. They report that several compartments on the submarine were crushed. Any bodies that were not destroyed in the blast may have been consumed by plankton and corroded by sea water. Click here to read our special report on The Kursk Trragedy.