By Monday evening, only the mast of the INS Vindhyagiri was visible. The rest of this Indian Navy's fully operational frigate, which collided with Cypriot merchant vessel MV Nordlake at around 4.45 pm on Sunday evening, had sunk, its bottom touching the shallow seabed at Mumbai port.
The Navy has a registered a case of rash and negligent navigation against the foreign vessel.
But questions are now being raised if the Navy delayed seeking help, and if indeed the Naval ship was to blame for the collision, considering it occurred in broad daylight.
Officially, however, the Navy continued to insist that the Vindhyagiri had not sunk. "After the collision, the warship was moved into the naval dockyard," said Capt Manohar Nambiar. "Subsequently there was a fire on board and water entered some compartments. The water resulted in the ship listing to one side. Listing is not the same as sinking."But other officials who had surveyed the area said the ship had suffered major damage and would cost a phenomenal amount to retrieve.
"There was a lot of smoke from the ship following the fire which prevented us from determining the exact area which bore the brunt of the collision. At around 1.30 pm on Monday, fire and smoke was brought under control," said Nambiar. The Navy personnel would now inspect the ship and determine the extent of damage.
Mumbai police officials said that a port trust pilot who was onboard the merchant vessel would be made the key witness in the incident. "We have asked for the communication details, log book and video recording on board the ships to figure out the exact cause of the accident," said Quaiser Khalid, deputy commissioner of police (Port Zone).