Navy’s auxiliary ship sinks off Vizag; sailor killed

The Navy’s torpedo recovery vessel TRV 72 sank outside the harbour here at 7.30 p.m. on Thursday, killing a sailor. Three naval personnel are missing. A Naval ship rescued the remaining 24 aboard.

The auxiliary ship sank to a depth of about 370 metres, about 35 nautical miles south of Visakhapatnam and 28 nautical miles from the closest point of the coast.

TRV 72 was deployed for a routine torpedo recovery mission. On completing it, the vessel was returning to Visakhapatnam harbour, when it reported flooding in its steering gear compartment around 6.30 p.m. Naval ships in the vicinity were immediately diverted to render assistance. Additionally, Dornier and Boeing P8i aircraft were deployed.

Of those rescued, one died while in post-recovery care. A Sea King 42 C helicopter with night-vision capability has been deployed, along with additional ships, to assist in the search-and-rescue operation.

The sunken vessel is an Astravahini Class, 112-tonne, 28.5-metre-long auxiliary ship with a displacement of 110 tonnes at full load. TRV 72 was built at Goa Shipyard and was commissioned into the Navy on February 23 1983. A Board of Inquiry has been instituted to investigate the accident. While the exact cause is not known, preliminary reports indicate that the sea chest, a recess in the hull for intake of water, developed a crack leading to flooding, a source said.

Series of accidents

The accident is one of the many that the Navy has faced over the last year. On October 31, INS Kora suffered minor damage after it was scraped by a merchant vessel near Visakhapatnam. The Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral R.K. Dhowan, took over as the head of the force on April 17 after his predecessor, D.K. Joshi, quit following a series of accidents. Admiral Joshi’s resignation came immediately after a fire on INS Sindhuratna, which left two sailors dead.

(With additional reporting by S. Anandan in Kochi and PTI)

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 3:18:07 AM |

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