Indonesia’s KRI Nanggala 402 submarine missing off the coast of Bali: Indonesian Navy

Jakarta, April 22 2021:  An Indonesian navy submarine, German-built KRI Nanggala 402 is missing after it lost radio contact during what was a routine set of live Torpedo military exercise maneuvers. Indonesian navy ships have been deployed to the region of ocean, off the cost of Bali where the submarine is thought to have gone down.

The incident happened after the submarine was cleared for diving early on Wednesday morning. According to the defense ministry authorities, “After permission was given according to the procedure, the submarine lost contact and could not be reached.”

The exact location of where the submarine submerged could not be determined but an oil spill that was detected by a helicopter looking for the missing submarine has narrowed down the search area. A spokesperson for the navy, Julius Widjojono said the presence of the oil could indicate damage to the body of the vessel. A search party comprising of two navy warships and 400 crew are now on the hunt. Indonesia has multiple German and South Korean built submarines in its fleet.

The Indonesian navy has sent out International distress calls which have been answered by several countries including Singapore, Australia and India. When the vessel went missing, it had 53 crew on board and was believed to be 700metres deep.

The missing submarine KRI Nanggala 402 is a classic 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. With a safety descent level of 250 metres, if it went down to rest at 700metres the likelihood is it would have broken up according to experts.

The Indonesian archipelago has previously been untouched by such disasters but such incidents are not uncommon around the world. In 2000, the Kursk of Russia’s Northern Fleet was on maneuver in the Barents Sea when it sank when a torpedo exploded and detonated all others killing all 118 on board, some instantly while some survived for days before succumbing to suffocation according to evidence. A Ming-class Chinese submarine suffered from an accident in 2003 during military exercises killing 70 people on board from suffocation.

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.

An Argentine submarine went missing in 2018, the wreckage of which was found a year later. It was crushed from an implosion at a depth of more than 900metres among under seas craters and canyons off the coast of Argentina.

A diesel electric Minerve submarine was a French vessel that was lost in the Mediterranean sea in 1968 with 52 on board and whose wreckage was found 50 years later in 2019. The cause of the accident is not yet clear though 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.

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