Submarine fails to detect ship, collides

  • Jatin Gandhi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 11, 2008 02:01 IST

An Indian Navy submarine was damaged after it collided with a merchant ship on Monday in the Arabian Sea, off the coast of Saurashtra.

Navy officials said there were no casualties.

The submarine, INS Sindhughosh, collided with merchant vessel MV Leeds, 140 nautical kms north west of the Mumbai coast and south of Diu on Monday afternoon. There were 50 sailors on board the submarine but there was no casualty in either of the two vessels, officials said.

An Indian Navy officer, who did not want to be named, admitted that the merchant vessel was not at fault owing to the very nature of submarine operations. The submarine is supposed to ply undetected and it does not communicate with alien vessels, the officer explained.

Moreover, it was plying in familiar waters. A Board of Inquiry (BOI) has been constituted to go into the reasons for the collision and point out the lapses that led to it. Ironically, INS Sindhughosh is equipped for early detection of enemy ships and submarines from a greater distance.

At the time of the collision, the submarine was plying in shallow waters of the Arabian sea at periscope depth when the large merchant ship grazed over it damaging the submerged vessel's aerial radar and fin, sources here said. It was on "normal operational deployment," it was added. The Navy described the damages as minor. The INS Sindhughosh is a kilo class submarine built by Russia that underwent a complete refit in 2005. It is among the best that the Indian Navy has and can launch anti-ship and anti-land missiles.

In April 2006, Indian Naval ship INS Prahar sank off the Goa coast after a collision with a merchant vessel. Before that, the stealth frigate INS Trishul had collided with a merchant vessel Ambuja Laxmi outside the Mumbai harbour on December 27, 2005.

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