Indian Navy likely to appoint inspector general to ensure safety of warships

The Indian Navy has had a reasonably smooth run over the past two years in terms of operating an incident-free fleet, thanks to the introduction of multi-layered safety audits.

india Updated: Jul 20, 2018 07:13 IST
Rahul Singh
Rahul Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Indian Navy,Navy warships,Warships safety
The Indian Navy has had a remarkable turnaround on the safety front. (Reuters File Photo)

The Indian Navy is on course to create a new full-time post of Inspector general (safety) that will help ensure safe operations at sea and reduce the risk of accidents, two persons familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity. “As of now, the chief staff officer (training) oversees safety issues as he holds a dual charge. The new post is being created as safety is an absolute top priority for the navy,” said one of the officials.

The proposal to appoint a two-star admiral as IG (safety) is in an advanced stage and will be put up for government clearance soon. The navy has had a reasonably smooth run over the past two years in terms of operating an incident-free fleet, thanks to the introduction of multi-layered safety audits.

“The appointment of IG (safety) is yet another concrete step to ensure warship safety,” said the second official.

The 2013-14 period was particularly troublesome for the navy as several of its warships, including two Russian-origin Kilo-class submarines, were involved in mishaps. Navy chief admiral DK Joshi resigned in February 2014 after two officers were killed and seven sailors seriously injured in a fire on the INS Sindhuratna. A 2017 report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) pointed out that 38 warships were involved in mishaps during 2007-16 and the navy had no framework to deal with safety issues. However, the navy has pulled off a remarkable turnaround on the safety front, the officials said, bringing up the multi-layered safety checks introduced by the navy.

“When a warship goes in for refit, safety checks are now conducted at five stages. There was a certain degree of adhocism in the processes earlier, which has been replaced by comprehensive planning.

All refits are now planned two years in advance,” he said. “It is a great move to appoint an IG (safety). The series of steps taken by the navy to cut accident risks will contribute to the culture of safety consciousness in the service,” said military affairs expert Sudarshan Shrikhande, a retired rear admiral.

The navy’s worst peacetime accident took place in August 2013 when Russian-built submarine INS Sindhurakshak sank after an explosion. killing 18 sailors on board.

“Submarine authorities concerned didn’t properly assess the crew fatigue, besides, the submarine was holding ammunition nearing life expiry,” the CAG report quoted the naval Board of Inquiry as saying.

First Published: Jul 20, 2018 07:12 IST