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Russian organizations ready to help investigate Indian sub accident

August 14, 2013, 18:05 UTC+3

Preliminary findings suggest torpedo loading bay fire caused explosions which sunk the vessel

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ARKHANGELSK, August 14 (Itar-Tass) - Russia's Zvyozdochka shipyard announced it's willing to provide assistance to India in forenscic evanualtion of the accident which resulted in a fire on board of Sindhurakshak, a diesel electric submarine of the Indian Navy, company spokeswoman said.

The submarine partially sank in the port of Mumbai overnight to Wednesday. The accident claimed lives of all 18 crew members. 

"The Severodvinsk-based company regards the accident as a personal tragedy, as members of the Indian crew lived in Russian families for more than two years," Zvyozdochka spokeswoman Nadezhda Shcherbinina said.

Russian specialists deployed in Mumbai for maintenance were not hurt in the accident, Shcherbinina said.

Indian Chief of Naval Staff, D.K. Joshi, said divers who entered the submarine after 12-hour rescue efforts found no survivors. The submarine will now be hoisted to the surface. Preliminary reports said a fire had started during  ammunition loading  in the torpedo bay which resulted in an explosion.

First Deputy Chairman of Russia's Military-Industrial Commission Ivan Kharchenko said the Unified Shipbuilding Corporation /OSK/ would send qualified personnel to India to ascertain the cause of the explosion.

"The OSK is in contact with India over the matter. It has been suggested that more specialists be sent to help ascertain the cause," Kharchenko said.

On Wednesday morning, OSK director Vladimir Shmakov briefed Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin on the accident.

The submarine was upgraded and handed over to Indian in January. After the overhaul it logged a mileage equivalent to a round-the-world trip and was preparing to sail out to sea.

A group of Zvyozdochka representatives, who are currently in India for technical maintenance and supervision, were not on board when torpedoes were loaded, according to Kharchenko. Most of the submarine is submerged at a depth of 15 meters, except the control cabin.

Sindurakshak was constructed in 1997 at the Admiralty Shipyards facility in St. Petersburg on commission of the Indian Navy. 

In 2012 the submarine was overhauled at the Zvyozdochka shipyard in Severodvinsk. The agreement between “Zvyozdochka” and India’s Defense Ministry has been signed in June 2010. In August 2010 the submarine arrived to Severodvinsk. As reported by the shipyard’s press service, the submarine was equipped with a modern missile complex Club-S. Over 10 Indian and foreign systems have been also installed, including Ushus sonar complex and СCS-MK-2 radio communications system.

The shipyard has also upgraded the cooling system, installed Porpoise radar set and implemented several other upgrades to boost combat facilities and operation safety of the submarine.

In November and December of 2012 the watercraft successfully completed the factory test program at the White sea, which included tests of its torpedo and rocket armaments. This January Sindurakshak departed from the shipyard to sail to its Mumbai port. 

The submarine, designed by the Rubin design bureau in St.Petersburg, is intended for fighting enemy submarines and vessels and defending naval bases, coastal and marine service lines, reconnaissance and patrol. Such submarines have department of 2,300 tons, length 72.6 meters, maximum speed of 19 knots /35 km/h/ diving depth 300 meters, crew 52 and endurance 45 days. They are armed with six 533 mm torpedo launchers while a modernized version carries Club-S cruise missiles with a range of 200 kilometers.

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