Wednesday, 12 May, 2021

Search for missing Indonesia submarine continues

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Deanna Wagner | 24 April, 2021, 13:07

Indonesia's navy on Saturday said items were found from a missing submarine off Bali, indicating the vessel with 53 crew members had sunk and there was no hope of finding survivors.

KRI Nanggala-402, a 44-year-old submarine of the Indonesian Navy, was carrying out a torpedo drill some 82 kilometers (51 miles) off the coast of Bali in the early hours of Wednesday, April 21, but failed to report back, according to the Indonesian government.

If the submarine was still intact, officials said it would have enough oxygen to last until just 3 p.m. ET on Friday.

"A blackout means the vessel's equipment can not be moved", he said.

The Indonesian navy chief of staff said a scan had detected the submarine at 850 metres (2,788 feet), well beyond its survivable limits.

Singaporean rescue ships were also expected later Saturday, while Malaysian rescue vessels were due to arrive Sunday, bolstering the underwater hunt, Indonesia military spokesperson Djawara Whimbo said earlier Saturday.

The diesel-electric powered submarine could withstand a depth of up to 500 metres but anything more could be fatal, Navy spokesman Julius Widjojono said. The vessel's collapse depth was estimated at 200 metres (655 feet) by a South Korean company that refitted the vessel in 2009-2012.

"But if the submarine is in a 700-metre sea trough, it will be hard for them to survive because underwater pressure will cause cracks and ruptures of the steel hull", Connie Rahakundini Bakrie said.

Indonesian Military chief Hadi Tjahjanto, third from left, boards a helicopter for a search mission for the missing Indonesian Navy submarine KRI Nanggala at Ngurah Rai Military Air Base, Bali, Indonesia on Saturday. It was said to be in good condition.

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While the search has yet to be called off, it is with deep regret that we observe the passing of this deadline. "He told me that he would go sailing and asked me to pray for him", she said of the last time they spoke.

Emergency crews work frantically to find the Nangga;a, as the vessel's oxygen levels are only expected to last until 3am on Saturday (local time).

Late on Friday, the Pentagon said U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had spoken with his Indonesian counterpart Prabowo Subianto and offered additional support, which could include undersea search assets.

He added that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin would meet with his Indonesian counterpart, Prabowo Subianto, to discuss how else the USA could help.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi on Thursday the "United States would do everything possible to support Indonesia's search and rescue effort", a spokeswoman said.

Numerous Indonesian navy and other ships and a patrol plane were involved in Friday's last-ditch search, focusing on an area where an oil slick was found earlier in the week, although officials have stressed there's no conclusive evidence it came from the submarine.

The Nanggala was German-built and admitted into the Indonesian fleet forty years ago, in 1981.

Indonesia has been seeking to modernise its defence capabilities but some of its equipment is old and there have been fatal accidents in recent years.

Indonesian Navy loses contact with submarine near Bali
Two navy vessels had been dispatched to use sonar to search the area, the defense ministry said. The KRI Nanggala-402 submarine stopped responding in the early morning defense officials said.