VILYUCHINSK (Kamchatka Territory), August 16 (Itar-Tass) - The Russian side sees not technical reasons as of yet that could cause the explosion at a Russian-made Sindhurakshak submarine in service with the Indian Navy, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told reporters on Friday.
He stressed, however, that a special commission is to determine the exact reason behind the accident. The submarine sank at Mumbai port overnight to Wednesday as a result of a fire outbreak. Nothing is reported about the fate of the 18 crew on board the submarine.
“The very first information that I received at night, several hours after that accident was that the blast had occurred in the section where storage batteries were being charged. This is the most dangerous work, which is connected with safety measures rather than with the producers of this equipment,” the deputy prime minister said.
He added that according to experts, violation of safety regulations was the most likely cause of the accident. “But things are still to be assessed in full,” he said. “At the moment we are not blaming the equipment,” Rogozin added.
He also reminded reporters that nine specialists from the United Shipbuilding Corporation were in India at the moment. The leadership of the corporation was instructed to dispatch additional specialists for the investigation into the accident.
“The main thing is to understand the reason, whose fault was behind the malfunctioning of the equipment, or was it a human factor,” Rogozin said. “But in any case, no matter what the results will be, India is a leading business partner for us not only in purchase and sale of ready hardware. India is our partner in a future joint designing of arms and special hardware,” he added.
Rogozin also expressed condolences to the Indian side in connection with the loss of lives. He stressed at the same time that the submarine itself, which had covered 15,000 nautical miles, did not attract criticism as to its technical characteristics. “It has never raised any questions on the part of our Indian colleagues,” he added, expressing hope that the investigation will be maximally objective.
He did not give any timeframe as to when the early results of the investigation could be published. As for Russian specialists, there was no decision so far on putting them in the special commission looking into the accident, Rogozin added.
The diesel-electric submarine INS Sindhurakshak was built in 1997 by the Admiralteiskie Verfi shipyard in St. Petersburg. It underwent interim overhaul and modernisation at the Russian Severodvinsk-based Zvezdochka shipyard, and arrived at the Indian port of Mumbai on April 29. The submarine sank overnight to Wednesday before sailing on a combat duty. According to early reports, a fire broke out on board, triggering two blasts in the torpedo compartment. Specialists name among the possible reasons hydrogen discharge during the charging of batteries and a mistake during the loading of missiles.