ARKHANGELSK, August 21 (Itar-Tass) - Director general of North Russia's Zvyozdochka shipyard Vladimir Nikitin will hold consultations with Indian officials later this week over possible assistance in investigating the cause of the submarine shipwreck in the port of Mumbai.
"The meeting is expected to take place in Moscow," Zvyozdochka spokeswoman Nadezhda Shcherbinina told Itar-Tass, adding that she could not be specific regarding the date as the meeting had already been postponed once.
The Russian shipyard, which upgraded the Sindhurakshak submarine for India, is setting up groups of specialists ready to visit the scene of the accident, the company's press service told Tass on Tuesday.
"The initiative to enlist assistance of Russian specialists in salvage works and in the investigation into the cause of the accident should belong to India," the press service said, adding that it had not yet received any such requests from India. "If the Indian navy asks for assistance, it will be provided in full and as quickly as possible," a statement said.
Currently, several representatives of the company's warranty department as well as two experts from Zvyozdochka's contractor companies are present in India, having worked on the vessel before the accident.
"Due to the circumstances, there is no need for their presence on board the vessel or at the scene of the accident. It would be more correct to say that the Indian side is not attracting Zvyozdochka experts to salvage works. Of course, there are reasons for it. None of the members of the warranty group is proficient in diving or salvaging operations," the press service said.
The Sindhurakshak sank overnight to August 14 as it was about to sail for active duty. Preliminary reports said a fire had broken out aboard, causing two explosions in the torpedo section. Among other versions of the accident is an explosion caused by emission of hydrogen from the charging accumulators and an error in loading missiles. Indian officials said all 18 crew on board died in the accident. The Russians were not hurt.
For further information on the Sindhurakshak accident, see our infographic.