A board of inquiry constituted to investigate how the INS Betwa had toppled on the docks has found that human error had led to the accident. The report was submitted by Rear Admiral Deepak Bali, flag-officer offshore Defence Advisory Group, who headed the inquiry.
Sources in the Navy said that quite a few people had been indicted in the report, and could face the music. Flag officer and commanding-in-chief of the western naval command, vice-admiral Girish Luthra, on Monday, confirmed that the report had been submitted and the accident had happened because of human error.
The western naval command chief also confirmed that the INS Betwa will be made operational by April 2018, after it was done with the refit cycle . The frontline Brahmaputra-class frigate of the Indian Navy, which was being refitted at the naval dockyard in Mumbai, had toppled on the dock blocks while the vessel was being undocked on December 5, 2016.
The vessel has been lifted from its position. The ship was undergoing a refit cycle that started in April 2016 in naval dockyard, Mumbai. On Monday, INS Betwa was shifted to a different block where all necessary refits and repairs are to be carried out.
“The vessel has suffered less damage internally, primarily because it was being refitted and all major components had been removed. The Navy has decided to make the ship battle ready within its ongoing refit cycle and it will be made operational within two years, April 2018 — the same deadline,” said Luthra
A contract was signed with a foreign firm in India, in the second week of January, to salvage the ship. The cost to put the ship right was negotiated at Rs 20 crore, said sources.
Phase 1 of the process was to salvage and get the ship back in operation. This was completed on January 11. Work for phase 2 was immediately started and water was removed from the dock by January 20.
Luthra has been monitoring each stage of work.