Gulf News

Indonesia searches for missing sub with 53 on board

Rescuers find oil spill near the submarine’s dive location

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We are still searching in the waters of Bali, 60 miles from Bali, [for] 53 people.”

IHadi Tjahjanto | Indonesia’s military chief

ndonesian rescuers searching for a submarine that went missing with 53 people on board found an oil spill yesterday near its dive location, authoritie­s said.

The 44-year-old submarine, KRI Nanggala-402, was conducting a torpedo drill in waters north of the island of Bali but failed to relay the results as expected, a navy spokesman said.

An aerial search found an oil spill near the submarine’s dive location and two navy vessels with sonar capability have been deployed to assist the hunt, Indonesia’s Defence Ministry said.

Requests for assistance

A ministry statement said requests for assistance had been sent and Australia, Singapore and India had responded.

CNN Indonesia reported that Indonesian navy official Julius Widjojono said he suspected the submarine had descended to a depth of 600700 metres.

“We are still searching in the waters of Bali, 60 miles (96km) from Bali, (for) 53 people,” military chief Hadi Tjahjanto said and added that contact with the vessel was lost at 4.30am yesterday.

Representa­tives of the defence department­s of Australia and Singapore did not immediatel­y respond to requests for comment.

The 1,395-tonne KRI Nanggala-402 was built in Germany in 1978, according to the Indonesian cabinet secretaria­t’s website, and underwent a two-year refit in South Korea that was completed in 2012. Indonesia in the past operated a fleet of 12 submarines purchased from the Soviet Union to patrol the waters of its sprawling archipelag­o.

But now it has a fleet of only five including two German-built Type 209 submarines and three newer South Korean vessels.

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