The navy has scotched rumours that guided missile frigate INS Betwa, which toppled over at Mumbai dockyard on Monday, will be written off. “We are going to salvage the ship and make it battle-worthy,” a spokesperson for the Navy said, adding that the endeavour will be completed “within the time-frame of the medium refit”.
INS Betwa, which was commissioned in 2004, was undergoing a two-year long medium refit since April. The underwater package of the ship’s refit was on for 40 days when this accident was caused by the failure of dock-blocks mechanism.
The accident has embarrassed the Navy. Naval Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba visited the accident site on Tuesday and later briefed Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
The spokesperson said that professionals have been called from abroad. They will provide their assessment of the situation to salvage the ship by Friday. Nearly 25 per cent of the ship was inside water when it toppled. Most of the equipment will be kept locally off-shore while the medium refit is on. The Navy is confident of salvaging the ship and making it battle-worthy because it has all the production capabilities available indigenously.
INS Betwa is one of the three 3800-tonne Brahmaputra class guided missile frigates in service. Produced indigenously, these ships are fitted with Barak and Uran missiles and torpedoes.
Meanwhile, a board of inquiry, headed by a Rear Admiral, has been instituted to fix responsibility for the accident which left two sailors dead.