Court allows Army to dispose of warship, grounded after collision
The Bombay High Court on Tuesday allowed the destruction of INS Vindhyagiri, after the Navy said the warship might explode due the presence of ammunition which could not be removed from the vessel. The ship has been grounded since it collided with a merchant vessel, m.v. Nordlake in January 2011.
“The court allowed us to destroy the vessel pursuant to the agreement, reached between us and the opposite side, that the plan of the ship will be with the court and that m.v. Nordlake will be granted one more survey of the ship,” Advocate Dhiren Shah, solicitor for the Navy, told The Hindu.
The Navy application said if the ship exploded at the place where it is berthed, it might cause huge damage to the naval assets and merchant vessels passing nearby.
Mr. Shah said the decision to dispose of the ship was taken mutually, and that the Navy submitted minutes of meetings between both parties to the court. “We also submitted a report of a central agency of arms experts, which carried out a physical survey of the ship and recommended that the ship should be destroyed, as the explosives can't be removed,” he said.
Twelve chambers of the warship were full of ammunition. Of these, the Navy could empty 11 chambers. One chamber filled with explosives remained submerged in water for long, thus prompting a survey by the experts, who opined that touching the explosives might lead to an explosion.
Though m.v. Nordlake initially opposed the Navy application, filed two months ago in the court, which is hearing disputes over damages, both parties arrived at consensus. Official sources told The Hindu that at least four joint surveys had been conducted previously by the Navy and m.v. Nordlake.
“We will now take her into the deep sea and destroy her by using her as target practice,” an official said. The process is expected to take three weeks.