Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Indian submarine explodes with 18 on board

14 August 2013, 08:40

Mumbai - A diesel-powered Indian submarine exploded and sank early on Wednesday in a dock in Mumbai, leaving rescuers scrambling to find 18 sailors who were on board.

The INS Sindhurakshak had been returned by Russia less than a year ago after a major refit and was submerged after the accident, navy sources said.

The accident comes just days after New Delhi trumpeted the launch of its first domestically produced aircraft carrier and the start of sea trials for its first Indian-made nuclear submarine.

Grainy and shaky amateur video footage taken by a witness showed the fierce explosion which lit up the sky at the naval dockyard shortly after midnight.

"The cause of the explosion is not known. We are searching for the 18 personnel," navy spokesperson Narendra Kumar Vispute told AFP.

He said divers had been deployed once the flames were extinguished by fire trucks which rushed to the scene and battled the blaze for several hours.

"Some sailors and other personnel who were in the vicinity of the submarine have been admitted to INHS Asvini [naval hospital] with injuries," said navy spokesperson PVS Satish.

"Eighteen sailors were on board the submarine, they have not been evacuated yet," Satish told AFP.

Soviet-era weaponry

In February 2010, the INS Sindhurakshak also suffered a fire while docked in Visakhapatnam city in southern India, killing a 24-year-old sailor and leaving two others with burns.

"There were two to three explosions and the night sky lit up briefly," said eyewitness Dharmendra Jaiswal, who manages a public toilet near the dockyard and was sleeping there overnight.

"There was a lot of smoke and I thought it was some major repair work," he told AFP.

There were fears that the explosion on Wednesday might have damaged other navy vessels in the dockyard, a colonial-era facility with civilian and military sections that employs more than 10 000 people.

The navy ordered an inquiry into the cause of the explosion.

Rahul Bedi, a defence expert with IHS Jane's Defense Weekly, told AFP the submarine was commissioned from Russia in 1997 and lacked some modern safety equipment common to newer vessels.

"They don't have escape routes in the event of accidents unlike some of the modern submarines," he said.

"The major concern is of India's submarine capability depreciating fast. I think out of 14 diesel-electric subs, 12 are operational," he said.

"That's very inadequate and a big operational drawback for the Indian navy," he added.

C Uday Bhaskar, a retired naval officer and former director of the National Maritime Foundation in New Delhi, also called it a "major setback".

"For every submariner this is one of the worst-case scenarios," he told NDTV.

India has been expanding its armed forces rapidly to upgrade its mostly Soviet-era weaponry and react to perceived threats from regional rival China.

The Mumbai dockyard, which is a restricted area, was closed to media.

INS Sindhurakshak is a kilo-class submarine which normally operates with a crew of 53 people and can sail on its own for 45 days, the Indian navy website says.

Russia is still the biggest military supplier to India, but relations have been strained recently by major delays and cost over-runs with a refurbished aircraft carrier, the INS Vikramaditya.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...