Mumbai, August 14;The submarine INS Sindhurakshak had undergone safety certification process in April this year and the results of it were highly satisfactory, claimed Admiral D.K. Joshi, Chief of Naval Staff, on Wednesday in a press conference held at the naval dockyard in Mumbai.
Following its refurbishing in Russia, the submarine was re-assigned with the Indian Navy in April this year and had 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 submarine has resulted due to spark during the charging of its batteries,” said Admiral Joshi.
Indian Navy’s Kilo class submarine INS Sindhurakshak sank with 18 crew members on board around midnight on Wednesday 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 fire,” he said. However, each submarine has both manual and automatic alarm systems. “We need to inquire why none of it worked during the emergency. The board of inquiry will find out the answers,” said Admiral Joshi. The inquiry will be completed in next four weeks. He assured that nothing will be kept hidden after the completion of inquiry report.
He made it clear that the Indian Navy has not ruled out an 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.
INS Sindhurakshak in the past too had faced an incident of fire breakout on board. In an incident in February 2010, a sailor had lost his life while two other were injured. But Admiral Joshi ruled out any connection with the past incident.
Antony assures support
Defence Minister A.K. Antony who visited the naval dockyard on Wednesday afternoon along with Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, said that he expresses solidarity with the Indian Navy at a time of this tragedy. “All humanly possible support and assistance have been provided to rescue 18 crew members trapped inside,” he said.
Mr. Chavan made it clear that entire government machinery is on standby and all possible help will be provided from the state government.