Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Indonesia navy searching for submarine with 53 aboard



Indonesia navy searching for submarine with 53 aboard

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The crew and officers of the KRI Nanggala 402 appear in a ceremony at the naval base in Surabaya in February 2019. AFP

Indonesia navy searching for submarine with 53 aboard

Indonesian navy ships on April 22 scoured a patch of ocean off the coast of Bali searching for a submarine with 53 crew aboard after losing contact with the vessel during military exercises.

The German-built KRI Nanggala 402 was scheduled to do live torpedo exercises when it asked for permission to dive early April 21 morning, authorities said.

"After permission was given according to the procedure, the submarine lost contact and could not be reached," the defence ministry said.

A helicopter looking for the missing vessel spotted an oil spill in waters where the submarine was thought to have submerged, it added.

The navy said it has not pinpointed the submarine's location but narrowed the search down based on the spill.

The oil "could indicate damage on the body" of the submarine, navy spokesman Julius Widjojono told MetroTV.

Two warships and some 400 personnel were sent out to hunt for the sub, while a third vessel was deployed from the capital Jakarta.

The navy also sent out an international distress signal and "several countries have responded and are ready to help including Singapore, Australia and India", the ministry said.

There were 53 crew aboard the vessel, which was believed to be in waters about 700m deep.

Indonesia, which has been moving to upgrade its military equipment in recent years, has five German and South Korean-built submarines in its fleet.

The 1,300-tonne KRI Nanggala 402 was built in 1978, according to a government website.

The vessel is a Type 209 diesel-electric attack submarine that has served in more than a dozen navies around the world, including Greece, India, Argentina and Turkey, over the past half century.

"It's a classic submarine," French navy vice-admiral Antoine Beaussant told AFP.

It had a safety descent level of 250m, and "if it went down to rest at 700m the likelihood is it would have broken up", he said.

Submarine disasters

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 2000 sinking of the Kursk, the pride of Russia's Northern Fleet.

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

Most crew died instantly but some survived for several days – with a few keeping heart-breaking diaries written in blood to their loved ones – before suffocating.

Seventy Chinese naval officers and crew were killed, apparently suffocated, in an accident on a Ming-class submarine conducting exercises in 2003.

In 2008, 20 people were killed by poisonous gas when a fire extinguishing system was accidentally activated on a Russian submarine being tested in the Sea of Japan.

In 2018, authorities found the wreckage of an Argentine submarine that had gone missing a year earlier with 44 sailors aboard.

Crushed from an implosion, the ARA San Juan was located at a depth of more than 900m in an area of undersea craters and canyons 400km off the coast of Argentina.

In 2019, a French submarine that had gone missing in the Mediterranean more than 50 years earlier was found.

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

Experts believe 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.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Tottenham Hotspur to wear ISF Cambodia logo on jerseys in match against Sheffield United

    Last year, the Indochina Starfish Foundation (ISF) – an NGO providing education to underprivileged children in Cambodia – made global headlines with its “socially distanced” football initiative. This year, a world-class football club – Tottenham Hotspur FC – will wear special edition jerseys to show their support for ISF

  • Nine US franchises eye Cambodia debut

    Nine famous US franchising companies are looking for business opportunities and expansion into Cambodia to build a footstep for a strong foundation in Southeast Asia. The US embassy in Phnom Penh, in partnership with the US Foreign Commercial Service and with support from the American