The end of Sindhurakshak
China Radio International reports:
An Indian navy submarine has caught fire after an explosion and sunk at a port in Mumbai, according to media reports.
The Associated Press quoted Indian Navy spokesman Narendra Vispute as saying efforts were being made to ascertain the safety of about 18 navy personnel on the diesel-powered submarine.
NDTV carried the full text of a news release by the Indian Navy:
An explosion resulting in a major fire took place on board INS Sindhurakshak, a Kilo class submarine of the Indian Navy, shortly after midnight on 14 August 2013. Fire tenders from the Naval Dockyard as well as the Mumbai Fire Brigade were immediately pressed into action. However, due to as yet unknown damage suffered as a result of the explosion, the submarine has submerged at her berth with only a portion visible above the surface. About 18 persons were on board the submarine at the time of the accident and efforts are on to ascertain the safety of the personnel and salvage of the submarine.
A Board of Inquiry is being instituted to investigate into the causes of the accident.
The explosion resulted in a major fire breaking out on board INS Sindhurakshak, a Russian-made Kilo class submarine of the Indian Navy, shortly after midnight, they said.
The fate of 18 persons on board the 2,300 tonne submarine, powered by a combination of diesel generators and electric batteries, is being ascertained, a defence spokesperson said. The Navy has ordered a board of inquiry to probe the explosion and subsequent fire in the submarine, he said.
Navy Chief Admiral D K Joshi is on his way to Mumbai. The submarine had returned after a major upgrade programme in Russia 3-4 months ago and was capable of carrying a potent weapons package including the anti-ship ‘Club’ missiles.
INS Sindhurakshak was not on active duty at the time of the accident, Navy sources said.
The incident has come at a time when the Navy is faced with a depleting submarine fleet.
Commodore (retd) Uday Bhaskar, a former IDSA director, said since the rate of induction of new platforms has not kept up with the kind of wear and tear that a submarine would undertake, the net result is that the Navy’s submarine fleet is depleting and the operation load is increasing.
India Today reported:
The explosion on board the INS Sindhurakshak was possibly a result of the buildup of volatile hydrogen gas during a battery charging. Sources told India Today that the submarine had faced a similar explosion when she was docked in Visakhapatnam in February 2010 which killed one crew member.
The navy’s Board of Inquiry in 2010 pinned the cause to a faulty battery valve that leaked hydrogen. The submarine was lightly manned at the time of the accident and later sent for a 2.5-year refit to Russia that year. It had returned to the naval dockyard on April 29 this year after the refit that cost approximately $80 million.
Conventional submarines like the Sindhurakshak are powered by a combination of diesel generators and electric batteries. The 2300-ton Sindhurakshak has 500 batteries. These have to be ‘over charged’ once every few months during which process each cell is manually checked. The presence of a large crew early in the morning points to a supervised battery overcharge.
Sindhurakshak is the ninth of a series of ten ‘Sindhughosh’ class submarines that were bought from the erstwhile Soviet Union beginning in 1985. India and China, with ten submarines each, are the world’s largest operators of the Soviet-designed Kilo class submarines. Seven Indian Kilo-class submarines have been given mid-life refits in Russia. Refits of two other Kilo-class submarines, Sindhukirti and Sindhushastra, are underway at the naval dockyard in Vizag.
August 15, 2013
Navy divers have entered the Sindhurakshak submarine hit by twin explosions, but have yet to reach any of the 18 sailors who are feared dead inside the vessel, a naval official said Thursday.
IBN Live reported:
The defence ministry late on Thursday released the names of the 18 sailors and officers who were aboard the submarine INS Sindhurakshak that sank here the day before after explosions.
The three officers are Lt. Commanders Nikhilesh Pal, Alok Kumar and R. Venkitaraj.
The sailors are: Sanjeev Kumar, K.C. Upadhyay and Timothy Sinha (all POUW-I), Kewal Singh (LSUC-I), Sunil Kumar (SEA I UW-III), Dasari Prasad (Mech-R 2), Liju Lawrence (LEMP), Rajesh Tootika (LME), Amit K. Singh (STD-I), Atul Sharma and Vikas E. (both SEA-I), Naruttam Deuri (ME-I), Malay Haldar (EMR-II), Vishnu V. (RO-II) and Seetaram Badapalli (LS RP-I).