Fire breaks out on navy tugboat INS Matanga

  • Rahul Singh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 06, 2014 22:25 IST

A fire broke out on Indian Navy tugboat INS Matanga at the naval dockyard in Mumbai on Sunday.

No casualties have been reported yet in the fire. This is the 14th mishap involving a naval vessel in the last eight months.

The fire broke out when naval dockyard workers were carrying out hot work (welding) on the tug.

The tug, which helps tow big vessels, was parked in dry dock area and fire tenders rushed to the spot to douse the fire, according to television reports.

The 68-metre INS Matanga is an ocean-going tug, with a displacement of 1,334 tonnes and has a top speed of 27 kmph.

Most of the recent naval accidents, including the sinking of INS Sindhurakshak last August in which 18 personnel were killed, have taken place under the Western Naval Command.

On February 26, Admiral DK Joshi resigned as navy chief, hours after two officers were killed in an accident on India's Russia-built submarine INS Sindhuratna.

The INS Matanga mishap comes weeks after HT reported a vital part that helps a vessel sail smoothly had gone missing from the navy's Russia-built stealth frigate INS Trishul.

One of the two stabilisers on the warship was found to be missing during a recent inspection in dry dock in Mumbai. Stabilisers help warships sail in rough conditions when the waves are high or the wind is strong.

The Trishul's sister ship, INS Talwar, had infamously slammed into a trawler off the Ratnagiri coast on December 23, 2013, sinking the boat and tossing 27 fishermen into the sea. Also, the Trishul had collided with a merchant vessel in Mumbai waters in December 2005.

The accidents have taken operational warships out of active duty and knocked some high-flying officers out of the race for top ranks.

At least five warship captains have been stripped of their command over the last 18 months for lack of adequate supervision and not complying with naval procedure.

The navy has been functioning without a chief since Joshi's resignation.

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