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    Russian rescue ship Shakhtyor to take part in NATO exercise

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    MOSCOW, June 16 (RIA Novosti) - The rescue vessel of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Shakhtyor, will take part in the NATO international submarine rescue exercise Sorbet Royal 2005 on June 17. The announcement was made by the press service of the Russian Navy on Wednesday.

    "It is the first time that Russia is taking part in such exercise, which the NATO Navy holds once every three years. Russia only sent military observers to the previous exercises," the statement says.

    The Shakhtyor has an expeditionary group of escape and rescue divers, who had prior training in Cartajena, Spain. The ship also has a group of medics with special equipment for prompt assistance to the rescued sub crews.

    "The preliminary part of the exercise will be held at the Taranto base in Italy on June 17 and 18. The part of the exercise involving individual submarines is set for June 20-24. The submarines of Italy, Turkey and the Netherlands will act as the distressed submarines," says the press release.

    On June 21 the rescue ship Shakhtyor will hold a demonstration exercise, picking "distressed" submarine crews (live seamen) from the surface and providing medical assistance to them, including intensive care in an oxygen tent, the statement runs.

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