Update: Hopes fade for 18 missing sailors in the submarine, INS Sindhurakshak - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Thursday 15 August 2013

Update: Hopes fade for 18 missing sailors in the submarine, INS Sindhurakshak

by Ajai Shukla
15th Aug 13

The navy today announced that none of the 15 sailors and 3 officers, trapped in the burnt out hulk of INS Sindhurakshak, the submarine that caught on fire and exploded on Wednesday night, had been found yet.

"Navy divers have entered INS Sindhurakshak late evening 14 Aug and efforts continue round the clock to ascertain the status of the 18 trapped personnel who were inside the submarine at the time of the incident.... Trapped personnel have not yet been sighted or recovered," announced the navy today.

Even the bland language of the defence ministry press release conveys a sense of the carnage inside the stricken vessel, which is resting on the seabed at the Naval Dockyard in Colaba, Mumbai.

"The diving efforts are hampered by poor visibility inside submarine (which is filled with water), extremely restricted spaces and displacement of most equipment from their original location. The heat of the explosion has melted parts of the internal hull deforming the submarine hatches and preventing access to compartments," says the press release.

The first step is clearly to pump out the water, and the navy confirms that "heavy duty pumps are being used" for that.

"Diving and salvage operations are continuing round the clock", says the release. But with every passing minute, the chances of anyone having survived that horrific blast and the subsequent flooding is clearly dwindling.


  1. also sir please tell us from where the scorpene battries come?

  2. How much more pain does India have to take? How much longer does India have to wait? How many more sons does India have to burn? How many more widows and orphans will India have to bear? Till ignorance and apathy no longer reigns!RIP brave souls, we will take up the reins..but woe to the Baboos!

  3. port raid... simulation... horribly gone... wrong... ???...

  4. Its one of the most horrific deaths that one can die. Trapped in a claustrophobic hulk of metal, with sea water engulfing you in its deathly embrace.....

    I can only pray that at the last moments, all the sailors must've been huddled together in the embrace of brothers-in-arms, and faced their ill-fate with some semblance of courage. They mustn't have died a lonely rat's death, but passed into the netherworld with a sense of sacrifice and atleast some gentlemanly demeanour.

    Their sacrifice must not go in vain. All efforts must be made to find the root cause of this and ensure that it never ever repeats.

    We're fortunate to live in a world that is more unlikely to go to war, than ever before in history. Must we then continue to build and operate such vessels, and such fighter jets, which can sink or crash at God's will ? Each time must the Indian jawan, pilot or sailor depend on faraway Russia or Israel to give him equipment that's fighting fit ?

    As soon as news of the Sindhurakshak's sinking came, the Russian shipyard immediately disowned all responsibility. I don't recall them even expressing condolences.

    Its in this context that there must be an urgent clamour for indigenization. Its not out of misplaced patriotism or jingoism that we say this. Its to avoid the MiGs from crashing and the submarines from sinking. Its to ensure that our own industry prepares the equipment for our soldiers with all the love and affection and care, that no Russian, Israeli or American private company can or ever will. Their companies won't care. But we surely will.

  5. This incident has shown one glaring shortcoming in the Indian Navy and the Indian martime industry as a whole - the lack of experienced and professional salvage and recovery equipment and expertise. Our folk maybe experts in stripping a supertanker stem from stern at Alang but we have absolutely no experience recovering submerged vessels or dealing with undersea salvage.

    The Indian navy is struggling to extricate a submarine stuck at dock- in its own proverbial backyard. What fate would the Indian Navy be in it had a nuclear submarine run aground in some littorals or had a catastrophic failure 1000s of km from home port and was sinking to the bottom of the sea ??


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