INS Sindhurakshak underwent a safety certification process in April this year and the results were highly satisfactory, claimed Admiral DK Joshi, Chief of the Naval Staff at a press conference at the naval dockyard here on Wednesday.
Following its refurbishing in Russia, the submarine was reassigned to the Indian Navy in April this year and it completed 1000 dived hours. “A submarine periodically needs to charge its batteries at harbour. The battery charging of INS Sindhurakshak was completed three days ago. We do not think that the explosion on the submarine has resulted from sparks going off during charging of its batteries,” the Admiral said.
Families arrive in Mumbai
The Kilo-class submarine sank with 18 crew members on board around midnight on Tuesday night at the naval dockyard here, after a series of deafening explosions. Out of 18, three were officers and 15 sailors. Two officers and six sailors were married. Families of crew members have started arriving in Mumbai.
The submarine was engulfed in fire following the explosion. “A submarine carries fuel, ordnance, oxygen tubes, and combustible batteries which can lead to the spread of a fire,” Admiral Joshi said. However, each submarine has both manual and automatic alarm systems. “We need to inquire why none of these worked during the emergency. The board of inquiry will find out the answers,” he added. The inquiry will be completed within the next four weeks and nothing will be kept hidden from anyone after the completion of the inquiry, he assured.
Admiral Joshi made it clear that the Indian Navy has not ruled out any attempt of sabotage. “Though we have not ruled out sabotage in this case, the indications at this point do not support the theory,” he said.
Fire accident in 2010
INS Sindhurakshak in the past, too, saw a fire incident on board. In February 2010, a sailor lost his life while two others were injured. But Admiral Joshi ruled out any connection with the past incident.
Defence Minister A.K. Antony, who visited the naval dockyard along with Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Wednesday afternoon, said he expresses solidarity with the Indian Navy at the time of this tragedy. “All possible support and assistance have been provided to rescue 18 crew members trapped inside,” he said.
Mr. Chavan made it clear that the entire government machinery is on standby and all possible help will be provided from the State government.