The fire in the Sindhuratna submarine last week that claimed two lives emanated most probably from the mess deck, housing the sailors’ accommodation, located one deck above the battery pit, according to a preliminary assessment by a specialist Navy team.

The submarine returned to Mumbai last Thursday and an inspection revealed that certain electrical cables were burnt or damaged. “The cause of fire at this location in the mess deck would be ascertained in due course by the high-level Board of Inquiry,” the Navy said, in an official statement, here on Tuesday.

The preliminary finding was that the batteries in Sindhuratna at the time of incident were operationally in-date. The statement said the batteries in the Sindhughos class submarines carry 240 cells and the batteries in Sindhuratna had till date completed only 113 cycles, against 200 cycles available for exploitation. The life of the batteries is valid by date as well — stipulated to be four years.

A preliminary inspection of the battery pit and the batteries was undertaken and no damage was observed so far. “Further, there are no signs to indicate any initiation of fire from the battery pit. The batteries appear to be clear of any damage and would now be put through normal checks and maintenance routines prior to operationalisation,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, the Board of Inquiry headed by a two-star Admiral has commenced investigation to ascertain the cause of the incident.

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