Seven officers found guilty of Sindhuratna fire

Seven officers found guilty of Sindhuratna fire

Seven Navy officers have been found guilty of “various acts of omission and commission” leading to the fatal accident on board naval submarine INS Sindhuratna in February, which killed two officers and injured several others.

“The Board of Inquiry (BoI) report in case of INS Sindhuratna has found seven officers culpable of various acts of omission and commission. Disciplinary action against these officers has been initiated at the Western Naval Command headquarters,” Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

Though the names of the officers have not been disclosed, it is learnt that the implicated officials include the commander of submarine operations at the Western Naval Command.
They have been served with show-cause notices to present their version of incidents before the next course of action is decided.

The ill-fated submarine was at high sea—80 km from Mumbai coast—when a fire was reported from the sailor's accommodations.

While seven crew members inhaled the acrid smoke and fell sick, two officers—Lt Cdr Manoranjan Kumar and Lt Cdr Kapish Singh Muwal—choked to death as they locked themselves inside the burning compartment to minimise the damage to the vessel.

Then Navy chief Admiral D K Joshi had subsequently resigned, taking moral responsibility for a series of major and minor accidents aboard naval vessels since August 2013. Eight months after his resignation, Joshi said he was made a scapegoat as the government wanted to pin the blame on someone.

Commissioned in December 1988, INS Sindhuratna had just come out of refit when the accident took place. The refit, costing upwards of Rs 100 crore, happened between May and December 2013. The refitted submarine completed its task one and was in the middle of task two when the incident occurred.

While kilo-class submarines like INS Sindhuratna have an average life of 30 years, the Navy carried out several refits to increase the ageing vessel's life. The BoI, headed by Rear Admiral Soonil V Bokhare, ruled out battery being the cause of the fire. The battery was taken from another kilo-class submarine—INS Sindhukesari—and almost 40 per cent life of the battery was intact when it was fitted into INS Sindhuratna.
At the time of the accident, the battery had completed about 113 cycles as against its full life of 200 cycles.

On the other submarine accident, involving INS Sindhurakshak, which exploded and sunk, killing everybody on board, Parrikar said examination of the BoI report had not been completed.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)