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Indonesian submarine with 53 crew on board missing off Bali coast

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The KRI Nanggala (402) submarine participating in a training exercise in 2015. PHOTO: U.S. Pacific Fleet / Flickr

The Indonesian navy is scouring the waters off Bali after losing contact with one of its submarines, with 53 crew members on board. The country’s defence ministry says the submarine was due to carry out scheduled torpedo exercises, when it requested permission to dive yesterday morning.

“After permission was given according to the procedure, the submarine lost contact and could not be reached.”

The Bangkok Post reports that a search helicopter has spotted an oil spill in the area where it’s thought the submarine descended. The navy is focusing its search on this area, with spokesman Julius Widjojono saying the spill could mean the body of the vessel has sustained damage. He adds that, while the submarine can dive up to 500 metres below sea level, officials believe it may have exceeded that depth by 100 – 200 metres.

“That oil spill location is the last time we had contact with the submarine. Let’s pray for them so they can survive.”

The Indonesian navy has deployed 2 warships, carrying around 400 crew members, to look for the missing submarine. A third vessel is being sent from Jakarta. A number of countries, including India, Singapore, and Australia, have also responded to an international distress signal from the navy.

Indonesia has been upgrading its military fleet recently and has 5 German and South Korean subs. The missing vessel was built in Germany in 1978 and has been in the service of around 12 navies around the world, including Greece, India, Argentina, and Turkey.

Antoine Beaussant, a vice admiral in the French navy, says it has a safety descent level of 250 metres.

“It’s a classic submarine. If it went down to rest at 700 metres, the likelihood is it would have broken up.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | CNN

 

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