What ails the Indian Navy: 10 mishaps that led to the Navy Chief’s resignation

INS Sindhuratna mishap is the tenth incident in the series of mishaps that hit the Navy.

New Delhi | Updated: February 26, 2014 8:44:30 pm
INS Sindhuratna mishap was the tenth in the series of mishaps involving frontline warships. (FILE PHOTO - PTI) INS Sindhuratna mishap was the tenth in the series of mishaps involving frontline warships. (FILE PHOTO – PTI)

The Navy’s tryst with accidents involving its frontline warships and submarines continues, exposing major chinks in the armour.

In the latest accident to have hit the Navy, two officers were feared dead and seven other personnel seriously injured following a mishap involving the submarine INS Sindhuratna off the coast of Mumbai on Wednesday.

Wednesday’s incident was the tenth in the series of mishaps involving frontline warships. Recently, the Defence Ministry had pulled up the Navy over the recent spate of mishaps involving warships and asked it to take corrective steps, contending that such accidents adversely affect the morale of personnel.

Here’s a look at the recent mishaps that hit the Navy:

February 25, 2014: Two officers were feared dead and seven other Navy personnel seriously injured in a mishap involving the Russian-origin Kilo Class submarine INS Sindhuratna off the coast of Mumbai on Wednesday. Close to 80 sailors were on board the Sindhuratna when the incident took place early on Wedenesday. The Navy said there was no explosion on board the Sindhuratna but heavy smoke was observed leading to the sealing of compartment 3.

Submarine INS Sindhuratna mishap: Two officers trapped inside feared dead

February 03, 2014: INS Airavat, the latest of the Shardul class of tank-landing ships, ran aground off the coast of Vishakapatanam after suffering damage to its propellers. The 6000-tonne warship, which was inducted into service in 2009, had to undergo significant repairs to its propellers. The propellers of the warship were permanently damaged and had to be replaced for it to become operational.

January 22: INS Betwa — a Brahmaputra-class guided missile frigate — ran aground or collided with an unidentified object while approaching the Mumbai naval base. The sonar dome mounted on the hull of the frigate commissioned in 2004 cracked, leading to faulty readings and ingress of saltwater into sensitive equipment. The damage rendered the ship ineffective. The damage was noticed when it entered the Mumbai harbour after returning from anti-piracy operations.

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.

January 17: Kilo-class INS Sindhugosh had to be “grounded” at the Mumbai base after it entered shallow waters at low tide. The submarine was, however, freed and did not suffer much damage.

January: A fault on board the INS Vipul, a Veer-class corvette that recently underwent repairs and refit, had also come to light. The warship had to be sent back for repairs after a hole was detected in its pillar compartment.

December 23, 2013: A fishing trawler sank after colliding with Navy’s frontline frigate INS Talwar near Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra injuring four of the 27 persons on board the civilian vessel. The fishing trawler was operating without lights and could not be seen in the dark. All the 27 occupants of the civilian vessel were pulled out by INS Talwar and dropped on the shore after being provided medical attention.

December 04, 2013: India’s leading minesweeper, the INS Konkan, caught fire and suffered major damage to its interiors while undergoing repairs in Vizag. The Pondicherry-class minesweeper was undergoing a refit at a dry dock when a fire broke out in its engine room and engulfed much of its interiors before it was doused by fire fighters.

September, 2013: A fire incident was reported on country’s only aircraft carrier INS Viraat off the coast of Mumbai. The incident took place on board the INS Viraat near the officers’ mess section of the warship.

August  14, 2013: Eighteen sailors, including three officers, were killed when multiple explosions ripped through the torpedo compartment of one of India’s mainstay kilo-class submarines INS Sindhurakshak berthed at Naval Dockyard at Colaba around midnight. The vessel then submerged under three meters of water, with the bow going down first. Divers could not even approach the submarine for two to three hours due to the extreme heat that it was generating.

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