Even as the operation to salvage INS Sindhurakshak, which sank in the sea off the Mumbai coast after a fire and explosions on August 14, is yet to begin, the Navy on Tuesday said it would explore the possibility of bringing the submarine back to use once it was floated.

“The material state assessment board would look into the possibility of reusing the submarine. But it would ultimately depend on how much damage has been caused to the hull, which would be established after a survey,” Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral D.K. Joshi said interacting with journalists during an annual press conference here.

On the salvage operation, he said five international companies had applied for the work contract and three of them were shortlisted for the commercial bid. On completion of the award, activity to float the boat would begin.

Asked if the ammunition on board the sunken submarine was a cause for concern, he said, “All companies have their own ordnance experts and the residual material on board was supposed to be stable and inert. There are no alarming signals.”

Admiral Joshi said no one was more eager than him to float the submarine for bringing closure to the case, since forensic evidence was available on the vessel. Accidents like the sinking of Sindhurakshak were isolated ones, he added. While naval operations were generally fraught with danger, “our record is not all that bad.”

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