INS Betwa, which tipped over during a refit at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai last year, will be operational again by September 2018. The frontline Brahmaputra-class frigate of the Indian Navy had slipped on the dock blocks while it was being undocked on December 5, 2016. Two sailors were killed and 14 others were injured in the incident.
The report of the board of inquiry, which was constituted to look into the events that led to the tipping over, is still pending.
The inquiry is headed by Rear Admiral Deepak Bali, flag officer offshore defence advisory group. The vessel is likely to be set upright by February this year, said Navy sources.
According to officials, a contract would be signed this week with a foreign firm to salvage the ship. The cost of its repairs, that is, to put the ship upright had been negotiated and has been pegged at Rs20 crore, claimed Navy sources.
Phase 1 of the entire process was completed on January 11, and the ship is resting on the ground again with water being removed from the dock.
A senior navy officer said, “The ship was damaged in the incident but it can be salvaged. In fact, the Western Naval command chief Vice-Admiral Girish Luthra, flag officer commanding-in-chief, is personally monitoring the operation.”
Fortunately, the ship did not have any armaments or critical electronic suites on board as it was undergoing the refit. Also, the chief of Naval staff are opposed to any extension to the deadline. Due to the ship’s refit, the work of other major projects at the Naval Dockyard will get delayed, said sources.