India joins search for Indonesian submarine

Indonesian Navy ship KRI Singa sails to take part in the search for submarine KRI Nanggala that went missing while participating in a training exercise on Wednesday, off Banyuwangi, East Java, Indonesia, on April 22, 2021.   | Photo Credit: AP

The Indian Navy on Thursday dispatched its Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel (DSRV) from Visakhapatnam to support the Indonesian Navy in search and rescue efforts for its submarine  KRI Nanggala that went missing on Wednesday with 53 personnel onboard.

“Spoke to the Defence Minister of Indonesia, General Prabowo Subianto over the phone and shared my pain over the news of missing submarine Nanggala and its crew members. India is extending its full support to the ongoing Indonesian rescue efforts,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Twitter. “I have already directed the Indian Navy to move its DSRV to Indonesia. I have also tasked the Indian Air Force to see the feasibility of induction of the DSRV intervention system by air,” he added.

On April 21, an alert was received by Indian Navy through International Submarine Escape and Rescue Liaison Office (ISMERLO), regarding the missing Indonesian submarine, the Navy said in a statement. The submarine was reportedly exercising in a location 25 miles north of Bali, it stated.

File photo of the DSRV.

File photo of the DSRV.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The DSRV departed by sea and has to cover a distance of approximately 2,500 nautical miles, a Navy official said.

Air Chief Marhal Hadi Tjahjanto, Commander of Indonesian armed forces had said KRI Nanggala 402 was participating in a torpedo firing exercise when it went missing. The Indonesian Defence Ministry said the submarine lost contact after being granted clearance to dive.

Indonesian Navy launched a massive search and rescue effort for the missing submarine and also requested assistance from countries in the region which had submarine rescue capability. The 53 personnel onboard includes 49 crew members, three gunners and its commander. The German-built submarine was in service with the Indonesian Navy since 1981 and completed a two-year refit in South Korea in 2012.

File photo of the DSRV.

File photo of the DSRV.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

India is amongst the few countries in the world capable of undertaking Search and Rescue of a disabled submarine through a DSRV, the Navy said.

“Indian Navy’s DSRV system can locate a submarine upto 1,000m depth utilising its state of the art Side Scan Sonar (SSS) and Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV),” it stated, adding that after the submarine is successfully located, another sub module of DSRV — the Submarine Rescue Vehicle (SRV) — links with the submarine to rescue the trapped personnel. The SRV can also be used to provide emergency supplies to the submarine.

Under the framework of comprehensive strategic partnership between India and Indonesia, Indian and Indonesian navies have been exercising regularly and deepened cooperation in recent years.

Australian assistance

Singapore Navy has already pressed its rescue vessel while Australia too has offered assistance.

RSN’s MV Swift Rescue — our submarine rescue vessel — was dispatched expeditiously yesterday afternoon, as fast as she could get ready, after our Navy Chief received a request for assistance from his Indonesian counterpart. A medical team was also added to the regular crew in the event that hyperbaric care would be needed,” said Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen on Twitter.

The site for search operations, near Bali, is more than 1,500 km away and waters are deep, which is why MV Swift Rescue sailed off as soon as she could, Mr. Ng said in a Facebook post.

Indian DSRV

Indian Navy deployed the DSRVs, a critical capability for submarine rescue, in December 2018 and has since deployed two DSRVs at Mumbai and Visakhapatnam on the west and east coast respectively to provide redundancy, high operational availability and early response to deal with a submarine contingency. The Indian DSRV, supplied by James Fisher Defence, U.K., is the latest in terms of technology and capabilities, one official said.


SCI Sabarmati, the mothership of the DSRV.

SCI Sabarmati, the mothership of the DSRV.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

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Printable version | May 17, 2021 5:37:31 AM |

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