The Navy’s run with accidents involving its frontline warships continues with the country’s most modern amphibious battleship running aground while returning to Vizag naval base after a regular patrol last week. INS Airavat, the latest of the Shardul class of tank-landing ships, has suffered damage to its propellers.
The warship is now set to undergo significant repairs to its propellers and likely to be docked over the next few days to assess the damage and to carry out a refit.
The Navy has so far refused to comment on the incident — the official spokesperson neither confirmed nor denied the accident — but sources said the damage was of serious nature as the warship has been rendered useless till repair works are carried out. Sources said a formal inquiry is set to be launched. It, however, remains to be seen if the accident was caused by human fault or a problem with the Vizag channel where dredging is currently taking place to clear it of debris.
The 6000-tonne warship, which was inducted into service in 2009, is the frontline amphibious assault vessel of the Navy and capable of rapidly transporting over 500 troops as well as 10 main battle tanks. It is the third and latest of the Shardul class of ships that have been constructed at Kolkata-based GRSE.
This is the eighth incident involving Navy ships in the last two months. The series of accidents have invoked a strong reaction from the Defence Ministry that has sought explanation from the Navy with Defence Minister A K Antony making his displeasure public.
DDC vice-chairperson Ashish Khetan said, “As of today he does not hold the charge anymore.”