Indian Navy’s INS Sindhurakshak catches fire, 18 feared dead
Amassive fire took place after a series of explosion onboard INS Sindhurakshak, a Kilo class submarine of the Indian Navy, shortly after midnight on August 14, 2013. The submarine sank and though fire tenders from the naval dockyard as well as the Mumbai Fire Brigade were immediately pressed into action, all 18 trapped personnel onboard at the time of the accident could not been sighted. A board of inquiry has been constituted to probe the reason behind the blasts and it is expected to submit its report within four weeks.
According to the Navy, diving efforts are being hampered because of poor visibility inside the submarine, restricted spaces and most of the equipment displaced from their original location. The heat of the explosion has melted parts of the internal hull deforming the submarine hatches and prevent- ing access to compartments. Heavy duty pumps are being used to pump out the water from the submarine. There has been large scale ingress of sea water into the submarine due to the explosion. Diving and salvage operations are continuing round the clock.
INS Sindhurakshak was commissioned in 1997 as part of a deal with Russia in the early 1980s. It was the ninth of the 10 Sindhugosh class diesel-electric vessels that the Navy has in its submarine fleet. In 2010, a fire on the submarine had killed a sailor while it was docked in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. The submarine had undergone a major refit in Russia less than a year ago. The sinking of the submarine is a huge setback to the modernisation drive of the Indian Navy.
Defence Minister A.K. Antony described the incident as the greatest tragedy in recent times. Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral D.K. Joshi said that the three sailors, who were onboard and had jumped to safety, are not in a position to make any statements.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral D.K. Joshi briefing the Defence Minister A. K. Antony about the sinking of INS Sindhurakshak