Nearly four years after 18 Navy personnel were killed in explosions that followed a fire on board INS Sindhurakshak, the Indian Navy has decommissioned the submarine. A decision is awaited on sinking the submarine or using it for target practice.
Sources said the decision to decommission the Kilo-class diesel-electric submarine was taken after suggestions from two Boards of Inquiry (BoIs) constituted by the Ministry of Defence. Both suggested decommissioning of the vessel as it was not “seaworthy and hence not fit to sail again”. “We lost officers and sailors on board the vessel.
The vessel is like a graveyard for us and, therefore, the option of scrapping it looks remote. We are now looking at the viability of using it for target practice or sinking the submarine,” a senior officer told The Indian Express. According to the officer, the decision on the future of the submarine rests with the Ministry. “We are hopeful that a decision is taken soon so that logistics of either sinking or moving it to for target practice is undertaken,” the officer said.
“The BOIs found that the massive fire which broke out on the submarine and explosions caused by its missiles and torpedoes had damaged the hull of the submarine, making it unfit for sea,” another Navy officer said.
Following the incident in August 2013, the submarine sank in the South Breakwater in Mumbai’s naval dockyard. In January 2015, the Navy entered into a contract with the Indian arm of US-based Resolve Marine for salvage operations. The submarine was retrieved from the waters in June that year and handed over to the Navy. Since then, it has been anchored at the naval dockyard.