Navy removes INS Airavat commanding officer after mishap

Navy removes INS Airavat commanding officer after mishap

Facing flak from the Defence Ministry over frequent mishaps, the Navy has stripped captain of the command of warship INS Airavat which ran aground off the coast of Vizag last week.

Commanding Officer Captain JPS Virk (equivalent to Colonel in Army) will no longer the command INS Airavat even as a Board of Inquiry has been instituted to find the reasons behind the mishap, Navy officials said here.

The Defence Ministry had summoned a senior Navy officer yesterday and pulled him up to check these incidents involving naval assets.

Under pressure from the Defence Ministry to check mishaps involving its assets, the Navy has so far removed Commanding Officers of its three warships involved in mishaps and has issued a show cause notice to the chief of Delhi Class warship for an incident during his command.

Captain Gopal Suri, who was commanding INS Talwar, was removed after the Russian-origin stealth frigate rammed a fishing vessel off Ratnagiri on December 23.

Another Captain Deepak Bisht was also relieved of his duties as Commanding Officer after his guided-missile frigate INS Betwa suffered damage in its critical equipment while entering the Mumbai harbour.

After the sinking of the INS Sindhurakshak in its harbour on August 14 following explosions, the Navy has been confronted with a several mishaps.

The Navy has been trying to downplay the mishaps, claiming they were minor ones. Defence minister A K Antony pulled up the force, holding that the hugely costly warships and submarines were "expensive national resources" which should not be frittered away.
In the INS Airavat incident, the propellers of the warship have been permanently damaged and will have to be replaced for it to become operational.

Navy Chief Admiral DK Joshi has claimed that the force's record in terms of safety was "not that bad" when compared to other forces.

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