The Naval Dockyard in Mumbai was engulfed in thick smoke on Monday morning, as firefighters continued their attempts to douse the fire onboard INS Vindhyagiri.
INS Vindhyagiri – a frontline Naval frigate of the Indian Navy – had collided with a merchant vessel MV Nord Lake at around 4.45 pm near Sunk Rock Light House on Sunday evening.
The naval ship that has suffered major damages tilted towards one side in the morning as water continued to enter the ship, said sources in the Navy.
The Indian Coast Guard - the premier agency in case of an oil spill - was also alerted, and was on standby to ensure timely response to a condition where oil spilled out of the warship, said coast guards officials.
"We have been put on alert," said Inspector General of Coast Guards (Western Region) SPS Basra.
Captain Manohar Nambiar, chief defence spokesperson Western Naval Command said, "There was smoke in the area because of fire. But this happens with a warship as even a minor fire on the ship would cause tremendous amount of smoke, because of a particular lining that the warships are coated with."
The defence spokesperson confirmed that the ship had not capsized as of 1 pm on Monday afternoon, and salvage operations were being carried out.
Around 18 to 19 ships had set sail on Saturday along with family members of Navy personnel as part of the ‘family’s day at sea’ occasion when the incident happened.
The merchant vessel MV Nord Lake was being piloted out by a Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) pilot, and was in middle ground, when it collided with the naval ship. Investigations are on to ascertain the cause of the accident, and MV Nork Lake has been asked to remain anchored at the Mumbai Port Trust pending enquiry.
The Navy too has constituted a Board of Inquiry to ascertain the cause of the accident.