Navy to float tender to salvage submarine

Indian Navy would float a global tender inviting at least six specialist firms in salvation operations to submit a bid to retrieve INS Sindhurakshak, which exploded and sank off Mumbai on the intervening night of Aug 14-15.

The tender (request for proposal) worth Rs 100-150 crore would be issued “shortly” as the defence ministry has to approve the RFP after fasttracking the procedure, sources said.

Six salvation firms have made inspections over the last one month and are expected to submit their bids.

The companies are: Titan Salvage and SMIT Singapore (Singapore); Ocean Centre Diving (New Zealand); Arihant Shipping and Duke Offshore (India) and Graph Technical Marine (Europe).

It would take months before the submarine’s actual salvation would begin as identifying the lowest bidder and signing the commercial contract would take time.

The timeframe given to the Board of Inquiry headed by submariner Commodore Deepak Bist, set up in the wake of the accident, has been extended as the probe could not be completed without the submarine’s retrieval.

Though Navy Chief Admiral D K Joshi earlier stated that the BoI would give its report within four weeks, sources said it was not possible to stick to that time limit.

The Board submitted its preliminary findings to the western naval command, but a detail submission could be delayed since even the forensic reports are awaited.

Since the accident, the Navy spent more than 1500 hours of diving efforts to get all possible information on the sunken submarine, which may be important for the salvation operation.

“The aim of the BoI is to identify the causality to predict if there is any possibility of a recurrence (of the explosion) in any other boat,” said a navy officer.

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