Collision-hit warship sinks off Mumbai

 Fire on water: Smoke rises from the INS Vindhyagiri at the naval dockyard in Mumbai on Monday. AFPThankfully, nobody was onboard when the ship, a Nilgiri class frigate worth around Rs 400 crore which was commissioned on July 8, 1981, sunk inside the dockyard on Monday.

The ship with 400 crew and family members of navy officers onboard had gone on a trip celebrating “day at sea” and collided with the merchant vessel near Sunk Rock Lighthouse off Mumbai harbour on Sunday evening while returning.

Soon after the collision, it was evacuated. The collision left a hole in the boiler room. Less than 12 hours after the incident, there was fire inside which the officials  could not control. The cause of the fire is not known.

The dockyard officials immediately sought help from the Mumbai fire brigade, which sent eight fire tenders and four jumbo tankers.The Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust also sent a tug to douse the fire, while Mumbai Port Trust deployed its tenders.

The blaze was brought under control after some hours but it resulted in flooding the vessel which tilted precariously and finally went down, seven meters below the water.
According to Navy sources here, the ship has 300 tons of fuel on board, but there is little possibility of an oil spill. The sources said the ship could still be retrieved but it has suffered extensive damage due to the fire.

The incident happened when MV Nordlake, a 175 meters long vessel fully laden with containers, was moving out of Mumbai harbour while INS Vindhyagiri was navigating its way in. Nordlake steered suddenly to avoid another ship that it was communicating with, but in the process collided with the warship at its rear.

“When the collision happened, there was a hole in the boiler room and that is where the fire started,” DCP (Mumbai port zone) Qaiser Khalid said.

The Director General of Shipping has ordered an inquiry and the Navy also filed a complaint against MV Nordlake on the grounds that the shipdid not follow standard operating procedure.

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