Globally-renowned salvage agencies were undertaking survey for salvage operations: Antony

Preliminary investigation indicates that blasts on submarine INS Sindhurakshak in Mumbai last week were caused by ‘possible ignition’ of armament, Defence Minister A.K. Antony told the Rajya Sabha on Monday.

Mr. Antony pointed out that the “rapidity and intensity of the explosions and the resultant damage to the submarine indicate that the 18 personnel on board would not have survived.”

“The cause of ignition is, however, yet to be established. Forensic examination would throw more light into it.” This would be possible only after the “partially submerged” submarine is afloat and dewatered. “A Board of Inquiry with all relevant specialists has been constituted to investigate the causes of the accident at the earliest.’’

After the accident, the Navy has ordered an audit of Standard operating Procedures (SOPs) on all operational submarines and extensive checks on the weapon-related safety systems, the Defence Minister said in a suo motu statement on the accident.

Mr. Antony said globally-renowned salvage agencies had been approached and they were undertaking a survey for salvage operations. “There is also an offer of help from Russia, where the refit and upgrade of the submarine was undertaken.”

The submarine was resting on its bottom and “partially submerged” next to the jetty where the incident took place. “Diving operations by the Navy are in progress round-the-clock to attempt search for the personnel, assess the damage and also attempt to arrest leakages and ensure dewatering,” he said.

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