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

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