NEW DELHI: The Indian Navy dispatched its Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel (DSRV) on Thursday to assist the Indonesian Navy in search and rescue efforts of its Submarine KRI Nanggala. The Submarine was reported missing on Wednesday.
Indian Navy in its statement said, "On 21 April, an alert was received by Indian Navy through International Submarine Escape and Rescue Liaison Office (ISMERLO), regarding the missing Indonesian submarine." An officer added, "We have sailed the mother ship with the DSRV within 24 hours of getting the information."
It requires a special capability to operate in deep waters which only few countries have and India is one of them. "The site of accident is almost 2500 nautical miles away and the ship may take almost a week to reach the site of accident," it said.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also spoke to his Indonesian counterpart on the issue. "Spoke to the Defence Minister of Indonesia, General Prabowo Subianto over the phone and shared my pain over the news of missing submarine Nanggala and its crew members. India is extending its full support to the ongoing Indonesian rescue efforts," he tweeeted.
Saying that the government is always committed to assist its strategic partners during the times of necessity, Rajnath added, "General Subianto has acknowledged and appreciated India’s support to Indonesia."
He also tweeted of sending the DSRV intervention system, equipment and machinery which can help in the operations, by air. The officials of the two countries are in touch at the d diplomatic level for further consultations. To operate DSRV it needs supporting equipment.
Shipping Corporation of India vessel Sabarmati along with the DSRV has been sailed. For DSRV to operate SCI Sabarmati will be the platform onboard which control, navigation and monitoring will be performed.
The submarine was reportedly exercising in a location 25 miles North of Bali with a crew of 53 personnel. The Tentara Nasional Indonesia-Angkatan Laut (TNI AL - Indonesian Navy) currently operates a fleet of five submarines. The missing submarine was commissioned in Indonesian Navy in 1981. Its previous major refit was done in South Korea in 2012.
Talking about the rescue mission the Navy said, "Submarine rescue is required to be undertaken when a submarine is reported to be missing or sunk and specialised equipment is required for underwater search to locate the disabled submarine and rescue the personnel who are trapped inside the submarine."
India is amongst the few countries in the world capable of undertaking Search and Rescue of a disabled submarine through a DSRV. Indian Navy's DSRV system can locate a submarine upto 1000 m depth utilising its state-of-the-art Side Scan Sonar (SSS) and Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV).
After the submarine is successfully located, another sub module of DSRV- the Submarine Rescue Vehicle (SRV) - mates with the submarine to rescue the trapped personnel. The SRV can also be used to provide emergency supplies to the submarine.
Under the framework of comprehensive strategic partnership between India and Indonesia, Indian Navy and Indonesian Navy share a strong partnership of operational cooperation. The two navies have been exercising regularly in the past and have developed synergy and interoperability which is considered important for the present mission.
Indian Navy's Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel (DSRV) Capability
This system has a Side Scan Sonar for locating the position of the submarine in distress at sea, providing immediate relief by way of posting Emergency Life Support Containers with the help of Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and thereafter rescuing the crew of the submarine using the DSRV itself.
In a submarine accident, rapidity of response is most crucial to safety of life. To ensure early mobilisation, the System has been procured in a Flyaway configuration which permits rapid transportation of the Rescue System from the base to the exact location of the distressed submarine by transportation using air/land/sea vessels.
The Indian DSRV is the latest in terms of technology and capabilities. Supplied by M/s James Fishes Defence, UK these are based on the West and East Coast of India respectively to provide redundancy, high operational availability and early response to deal with a submarine contingency.