Defence Minister AK Antony on Wednesday offered his heartfelt condolences to the families of sailors trapped in Indian Navy submarine INS Sindhurakshak, which caught fire after three explosions and sank at the naval dockyard in Mumbai late last night.
Antony, who visited the naval dockyard in Mumbai along with Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Navy Chief Admiral DK Joshi, said the Indian Navy has ordered a board of inquiry, which will look into all the details about the incident
“I came here to express the nation’s solidarity and condolence to the Indian Navy. It’s a shocking tragedy. Navy has already ordered a board of inquiry. The board will go into all details about the incident,” Antony told media here.
“I express my heartfelt condolence to the families of sailors who were inside this submarine. We will extend all possible support, assistance and relief to members of each sailor’s family,” he added.
Chavan said Maharashtra will offer all help that is required in this hour of crisis.
“On behalf of the Government of Maharashtra, I express my deep sympathy to the Chief of Naval Staff and personnel of the naval forces in this hour of tragedy,” he said
The Defence Minister earlier in the day briefed Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh over the INS Sindhurakshak fire tragedy.
Antony, prior to his departure to Mumbai, described the incident as the greatest tragedy of recent times.
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 the explosion, the submarine has submerged at her berth with only a portion visible above the surface.
About 18 persons, including three officers and 15 crew, 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. Armed with its latest multi-role missile system, radar and electronics, the submarine was to be the backbone of the Indian Navy.
The submarine was fitted with the Club-S multi-role missile system capable of eliminating targets at a distance of over 250 kilometres.
The submarine was under consideration to be equipped with the Brahmos cruise missiles.
INS Sindhurakshak, a Type 877EKM in Russia, was constructed at St. Petersburg in 1997.
The submarine was designed to patrol and to protect naval communications, assault warships, enemy submarines, land targets and perform naval reconnaissance.
It is one of the quietest diesel-electric submarines in the world mainly intended for anti-ship and anti-submarine operations.
These submarines have a displacement of 3,000 tonnes, a maximum diving depth of 300 metres, top speed of 18 knots, and are able to operate for 45 days without refueling
10 Kilo-class submarines were constructed in Russia’s shipyards for the Indian Navy from 1985-2000.