Wednesday, May 6, 2015

2 India naval officers face possible court martial in fatal submarine accident

The Times of India
6 May 2015

NEW DELHI: Two senior naval officers are now likely to face court martial for the accident on board submarine INS Sindhurakshak, which sank due to internal explosions and killed three officers and 15 sailors at the Mumbai naval dockyard in August 2013.

Sources said the captain of the submarine and the Western Naval Command's commodore in charge of submarines have been issued show-cause notices to respond to charges of negligence.

As reported by TOI earlier, INS Sindhurakshak was being fully-loaded with 18 missiles and torpedoes since it was to head for a long patrol when the mishap took place in the late hours of August 14. All the 18 personnel on board at that time, including the second in command and weapons officer, were killed in the series of explosions.

Defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday told Parliament that the board of inquiry has concluded that it was an accident triggered probably during the process of arming the torpedoes. "Since none of the officers and sailors present inside the submarine survived, it has not been possible to attribute any blame to any individual for failure or negligence, if any. However, disciplinary action against two officers in the chain of command has been initiated for individual lapses," he said.

Around 40 officers are in the dock — most of them facing court martial — for the string of warship mishaps in just the last three years. The mishap on board another Kilo-class submarine, INS Sindhuratna, which had killed two officers and injured several sailors, in fact had proved to be the final trigger for Admiral DK Joshi to resign as the Navy chief in February last year.

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