City-based retired Naval officers have sought a thorough probe into the reasons that led to the explosion in the refurbished submarine INS Sindhurakshak in the Naval dockyard off Mumbai harbour. The submarine caught fire and sank with 18 sailors on board. The explosion was so loud that it was heard over a two-km radius,including large parts of south Mumbai. The sailors were reportedly working inside the submarine and remained trapped inside.
Vice-Admiral (Retd) Suresh Bangara,former chief of Southern Naval Command said that with the vessel anchored along the shore,the investigations can be carried out in greater detail. One has to understand that accidents are caused by human error as well as machine failure and no Navy in the world has a record of no accidents. With the vessel being alongside,there were fewer staff on board. If it was deep down in the ocean,it would take great trouble in getting it out and the entire staff would be in it. However,what is important is after the investigations,one can rectify the error as the explosion happened in peace time, he said.
Commander Girish Konkar (retd),an ex-submariner who has had a 22-year tenure in the Navy,said it does not look like a mere battery explosion. Of course investigations are on but as a mere conjecture,being a former Navy officer,I would say that both warhead and the missile propellant could have caught fire. We would have to wait for it probe report to understand the real cause,he said.
He said all precautions are taken by the marines and the crew is well-trained. With it being alongside,only 18-20 people are on board to check the systems while the remaining staff are ashore.
The submarine also has a strict time schedule for all the staff on duty on board and checks for electrical system and mechanical system besides others. Vice-Admiral J S Bedi,ex-chief of Western Naval Command,said that it was really sad incident.
It is best left to the professionals in the Navy to get to the root cause of the accident. At this moment our prayers and sympathies go out to the near and dear ones who have lost the men on board, he said. INS Sindhurakshak was a diesel-electric submarine that returned home last year after a major refit at Russias Zvezdochka shipyard.