Oil spill seen where missing Indonesian Navy submarine vanished with 53 sailors on board off of Bali

Indonesian rescuers searching for a missing Navy submarine with 53 sailors on board have found an oil spill near the vessel’s dive location in the waters of Bali. 

The navy has deployed a number of warships to search for the missing crew.

Officials fear the vessel sank to the bottom of a trough with a depth of 2,300ft during a torpedo military exercise. 

The German-made submarine, KRI Nanggala-402, was conducting a torpedo drill in waters 60 miles north of the island of Bali on Wednesday, but failed to relay the results as expected, a navy spokesman said.

The 44-year-old submarine had asked for permission to dive to conduct the live torpedo exercises. 

‘After permission was given according to the procedure, the submarine lost contact and could not be reached,’ Indonesia’s Defence Ministry said. 

An aerial search by a helicopter found an oil spill in waters where the submarine was thought to have submerged.

The navy deployed two vessels with sonar capability to assist the hunt, the ministry said.

The German-made submarine, KRI Nanggala-402 (file photo of the submarine), has gone missing with 53 people on board

The German-made submarine, KRI Nanggala-402 (file photo of the submarine), has gone missing with 53 people on board

The German-made submarine, KRI Nanggala-402 (file photo of the submarine), has gone missing with 53 people on board

An aerial search by a helicopter found an oil spill in waters where the submarine (file photo) was thought to have submerged

An aerial search by a helicopter found an oil spill in waters where the submarine (file photo) was thought to have submerged

An aerial search by a helicopter found an oil spill in waters where the submarine (file photo) was thought to have submerged

The navy requested help from other nations with submarine rescue vessels and Australia, Singapore and India have responded, the ministry said in a statement.   

TNI Commander Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto said contact with the submarine was lost at around 4.30am local time on Wednesday morning.  

‘We are still searching in the waters of Bali, 60 miles from Bali, (for) 53 people,’ military chief Hadi Tjahjanto told Reuters in a text message. 

He added: ‘Tomorrow I will immediately go to the location.’  

The submarine was conducting a torpedo drill in waters 60 miles north of the island of Bali

The submarine was conducting a torpedo drill in waters 60 miles north of the island of Bali

The submarine was conducting a torpedo drill in waters 60 miles north of the island of Bali

Missing Naggala 402 

Age: 44 years after being built in 1977

Top speed: 25 knots (46 km/hr)

Range: 8,200 nautical miles (15,200 km)

Maximum diving depth: 843ft  

Weight: 1,395 tons

Length: 65 yards

Fuel: Powered by four electric deisel engines 

Armaments: 14 torpedos located in eight tubes. It is also equipped with a CSU-3-2 suite type sonar

Built in: Lübeck, Germany    

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The military chief confirmed that assistance in the search for the submarine and missing crew members had been sought from Australia and Singapore. 

Representatives of the defence departments of the two countries did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

‘The navy is currently searching for [the submarine], said First Admiral Julius Widjojono. ‘We know the area but it’s quite deep.’   

Commander Marshal Tjahjanto will hold a media briefing to share further information about the search on Thursday from Bali, a spokesman said.

Military analyst Soleman Ponto said it is too early to determine the fate of the submarine conclusively.

‘We don’t know yet whether the communication equipments were broken or the submarine has sunken. We have to wait for at least three days,’ he said. 

The 1,395-tonne KRI Nanggala-402 was built in Germany in 1977, according to the defense ministry, and joined Indonesian fleet in 1981. It 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.

The military chief confirmed that assistance in the search for the submarine (file photo of the vessel) and missing crew members had been sought from Australia and Singapore

The military chief confirmed that assistance in the search for the submarine (file photo of the vessel) and missing crew members had been sought from Australia and Singapore

The military chief confirmed that assistance in the search for the submarine (file photo of the vessel) and missing crew members had been sought from Australia and Singapore

In 2016, an Indonesian air force transport plane crashed into a mountain, killing all 13 people board, during a training exercise in the remote region of Papua.

In 2015, an Indonesian military transport plane crashed into a northern residential area two minutes after takeoff, killing more than 100 people.

While the Southeast Asian archipelago has not previously suffered a major submarine disaster, other countries have been struck by accidents in the past.

Among them was the horrific sinking in 2000 of the Kursk, the pride of Russia’s Northern Fleet.

The submarine was on manoeuvres in the Barents Sea on August 12, 2000 when it sank with the loss of all 118 aboard. An inquiry found a torpedo had exploded, detonating all the others.

In 2018, authorities found the wreckage of a missing Argentine submarine that had gone missing a year earlier.

Crushed from an implosion, the ARA San Juan was located at a depth of more than 900 metres (3,000 feet) in a desolate area of undersea craters and canyons 400 kilometres (250 miles) off the coast of Argentina.

The accident took the lives of 44 sailors.

Then, in 2019, a French submarine that went missing in the western Mediterranean over 50 years ago was found.

The diesel-electric Minerve submarine was lost off France’s southern coast with 52 sailors on board on January 27, 1968.

The Minerve was on a training mission in bad weather when it went down while returning to its base in Toulon, France’s main Mediterranean naval port.

Experts have speculated that the disaster was caused by a problem with the Minerve’s rudder, a collision with another boat, the explosion of a missile or torpedo, or a fault with its oxygen supply systems. 

Link hienalouca.com

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