An amphibious warship of the Navy was damaged when it ran aground off the coast of Vishakhapatnam last week, after which an inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the reasons for the mishap.
This was the eighth incident involving a Naval warship since the sinking of the submarine INS Sindhurakshak in Mumbai harbour in August last year in which all 18 personnel on board were killed. The Magar-class Landing Ship Tanker ran aground off the coast of Vishakhapatnam last week and suffered damages.
An inquiry has been ordered to probe the incident by the Navy, sources in the Navy said. A Navy spokesperson refused to comment on the issue. The LSTs are used by the Navy for amphibious warfare. Only two ships of the class were designed and built by Hindustan Shipyard Limited in partnership with the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers.
The ships are stationed at the naval base in Vishakhapatnam. They can operate two medium-lift helicopters, which are primarily meant for "inserting" a small team of Special Forces (marine commandos). There have been several incidents in the recent past soon after Navy Chief Admiral DK Joshi claimed that the force's record in terms of safety was "not that bad" when compared to other navies in the world.
After the sinking of the INS Sindhurakshak, the Navy has faced several mishaps including one in which the INS Betwa was damaged after probably hitting some underwater object. The INS Sindhughosh, another Kilo Class submarine, had a close shave after it entered the Mumbai harbour in a low tide phase.
India's leading minesweeper, the INS Konkan that was undergoing repairs in Vizag, caught fire and suffered major damage to its interiors. The Pondicherry-class minesweeper was getting a refit at a dry dock when the incident occurred.
In another incident, a 30-mm gun on ICSG Sangram, a patrol boat undergoing a refit at the naval docks in Mumbai, fired accidentally. The shell pierced the Naval headquarters building damaging a few offices.
Following this, the INS Tarkash — a Talwar-class frigate which has conducted several overseas missions — hit the jetty while berthing at the Mumbai naval base. Its hull was badly damaged. Late at night on December 23, the Navy suffered a major embarrassment after the INS Talwar collided with a fishing vessel 10 miles off the coast, injuring many.
The 27 people aboard the fishing vessel had to be rescued after it sunk.
A fault on board the INS Vipul, a Veer-class corvette that recently underwent repairs and refit, has also come to light. The warship, sources said, was sent back for repairs after a breach was discovered during sailing.