The Indian Navy’s guided missile frigate INS Betwa, which had tipped over while being undocked at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai in December last year, has been undocked smoothly, officials said on Thursday. INS Betwa has been undocked smoothly and is currently alongside for her refit work, according to the Navy.
The undocking, undertaken on June 27, was preceded by a minor incident, involving the ship’s listing by around 8 degrees, during flooding of the dry dock, an official spokesperson said. “INS Betwa was planned for undocking on June 22, 2017 as part of her ongoing refit. Prior to undocking, all preparations to ensure stability of the ship during undocking had been undertaken and she was provided adequate margin of stability,” the spokesperson said.
“During flooding of the dry dock, a list of up to 7-8 degrees was observed, which was promptly corrected. However, the ship could not be undocked due to a leakage in the dock-gate of the dry dock and subsequent unfavourable tide,” he said.
“The undocking was, thereafter, undertaken on June 27 when the tide was suitable,” the spokesperson said.
The accident involving the 4,000 tonne, 126-metre frontline warship on December 5 last year had claimed the lives of two personnel and left 15 injured.
An assessment of the damage to the ship showed that the mast had hit the ground on the left. It was suspected that the dock block mechanism had malfunctioned during undocking in the cruiser graving dock of the dockyard. The ship was undergoing a refit. The salvage operation was carried out by specialist firm Resolve Marine Group, which was selected through a tendering process. The operation cost about Rs 20 crore.
The INS Betwa is a frigate of the Brahmaputra class, built by Garden Reach Ship Builders of Kolkata and commissioned into service in July 2004. Named after the river Betwa, the frigate was indigenously designed and built with the capability to operate at extended ranges, with speeds up to 30 knots.
It is one of the Western Naval Command’s key warships, and is armed with Uran anti-ship missiles, Barak 1 surface-to-air missiles and torpedoes.
The ship had run aground in January 2014 and had collided with an unidentified object, which caused a crack in its sonar system. It has also suffered salt water ingress into sensitive equipment.