Out for drill, Indonesian sub with 53 aboard goes lacking


Karta, April 21

Indonesian Navy is searching for a submarine with 53 people on board that lost contact on Wednesday and is seeking help from neighbouring Australia and Singapore in the hunt, the Indonesian military chief said.

The 43-year-old submarine, KRI Nanggala-402, was conducting a torpedo drill in waters north of the island of Bali but failed to relay the results as expected, a navy spokesman said.


43-year-old vessel

  • The 43-year-old submarine, KRI Nanggala-402, was conducting a torpedo drill in waters north of the island of Bali when it went missing
  • Some of Indonesian defence equipment still in service are old and there have been deadly accidents in recent years
  • The submarine is believed to have sunk into a trough at a depth of 700 metres (2,300 feet)

“We are still searching in the waters of Bali, 60 miles (96 km) from Bali, (for) 53 people,” military chief Hadi Tjahjanto informed through a text message. The military chief confirmed that assistance in the search for the submarine and missing crew members had been sought from Australia and Singapore. He said that contact with the vessel was lost at 4:30 am on Wednesday.

The searchers have found an oil spill near where the vessel dived, authorities said. An aerial search found an oil spill near the submarine’s dive location and two navy vessels with sonar capability have been deployed to assist in the search, the Defense Ministry said.

Representatives of the defence departments of Australia and Singapore did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The military chief will hold a media briefing to share further information about the search on Thursday from Bali, a spokesman said.

The 1,395-tonne KRI Nanggala-402 was built in Germany in 1978, according to the Indonesian cabinet secretariat’s website, and underwent a two-year refit in South Korea that was completed in 2012.

Indonesia in the past operated a fleet of 12 submarines purchased from the Soviet Union to patrol the waters of its sprawling archipelago. But now it has a fleet of only five, including two German-built Type 209 submarines and three newer South Korean vessels.

Indonesia has been seeking to modernise its defence capabilities but some of its equipment still in service is old and there have been deadly accidents in recent years. — Reuters



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