Navy takes stern steps to check mishaps

  • Rahul Singh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 29, 2014 22:05 IST

At least 25 naval personnel, including 16 officers, are facing disciplinary action for lapses that led to accidents under their watch and tarnished the force's image.

Those being punished are linked to mishaps involving aircraft carrier INS Virat, Russian-built stealth frigate INS Talwar, Kilo-class submarine INS Sindhuratna and patrol boat INS Tarasa.

The punishment could range from loss of seniority, retirement benefits and even dismissal from service.

Five officers and one sailor have been blamed for the fire on board INS Virat last September, a mishap that came barely a month after 18 personnel were killed in the INS Sindhurakshak accident.

A board of inquiry into the INS Sindhuratna mishap, which led to Admiral DK Joshi's resignation, has recommended that three officers be tried by a court martial for lapses under their watch.

The officers include a commodore (equivalent to a brigadier) responsible for carrying out trials on the submarine. Two officers were killed in a fire, triggered by a short circuit, onboard INS Sindhuratna on February 26.

Four officers and two sailors have been held responsible for the INS Talwar accident - it slammed into a trawler off the Ratnagiri coast on December 23. The accident took place due to inadequate lookout and error in judgment by the ship's crew. Also, action is also being taken against three officers and four sailors for a fire onboard INS Tarasa last July.

Mishaps involving 18 warships during the last two years had raised questions about leadership and training in the force. The navy is tightening the screws on its personnel to make sure that standard operating norms and safety procedures are followed.

More naval personnel are likely to face punishment in the coming months as at least 10 mishaps that occurred between April 2013 and April 2014 are still being investigated by the force. The warships involved in these accidents include INS Betwa, INS Airavat, INS Sindhughosh, INS Delhi and INS Tarkash.

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