Monday, January 31, 2011

Indian Frigate Vindhyagiri Sunk By Merchantman

This screen grab shows the Indian Navy's anti-sub warfare frigate INS Vindhyagiri listing dangerously at the naval dockyard in Mumbai a day after it collided with a merchant ship in the Mumbai harbour approach. Shortly after these images were shot, the ships hull hit the sea bed. Tragically, the ship was to have been decommissioned soon anyway. The Indian-built Leander-class frigate is currently the oldest indigenously constructed ship in the Indian Navy, commissioned in 1981. A truly sad day.

The navy issued the following statement today: "The collision led to fire and flooding onboard INS Vindhyagiri. INS Vindhyagiri was thereafter safely berthed alongside in the Naval harbour. Ammunition on board was cleared and all efforts were made to contain the fire and flooding onboard. Concurrently, necessary measures have also been taken to prevent any spillage of oil from the ship. Other naval operations and commercial operations in Mumbai port have not been affected. No casualities have been reported."

The last Indian warship to go down in peacetime was the Tarantul-class corvette INS Prahar in 2006.


Anonymous said...

Why so sad? it would have been much worse if it had been a modern ship that was sunk.
And no one was killed thank god.
So a blessing in disguise.

Anonymous said...

Very sad,but could have been much worse.Thank God for no loss of life.

Anonymous said...


Whose fault resulted in this accident? Are we putting any penalty on merchant ship owner? This shows our poor safety standards. Even defense ships are getting involved in accidents.

We need swift and timely actions to ensure no such incidents happen in future.

Anonymous said...

must be shoddy construction

who made it?

Anonymous said...

anything on navy's crew training...its not their first accident....they are warriors...these things are not accepted ...

Anonymous said...

People ,

its the oldest ship in the navy 1981 i think so chill... ships have life spans of abt 30 yrs only.

Next..Shiv..rather than report the article with " Indian frigate Vindhyagiri sunk by Merchantman " .. pls use moderated language..your not a Pakistani / Chinese are you ?... FYI ..any warship will take massive damage when it collides with a merchantman almost 20 times its tonnage.... A reminder.. if you studied science in school ...Force= Rate of change of momentum (mass * velocity) ... and the mass of the merchantship is 20 times more... so obviously the lesser thick hull will bear the brunt .... So do think before you write ..

Anonymous said...

Wtf is happening? 1st subs collide and now warships?

Anonymous said...

Made by Mazgaon docks limited in the late 70's - early 80's

Anonymous said...

Whats so sad about this ship sinking. What surprises me is with what ease it sunk. Cant even imagine how quickly it would have sunk, had it been hit by a anti ship missile.

Anonymous said...

The news networks say their were families onboard enjoying a joyride. So apparently someone was busy having fun instead of doing their job. The captain of INS prahar[2006] was sacked, may be sterner punishment is required here.

Anonymous said...

11:55 PM

" so obviously the lesser thick hull will bear the brunt ..."

why should a warship have a thinner hull than a merchant ship?

The collision should have resulted in equal damage to each ship. Its not a question of which has the greater mass - the merchant ship is not a solid object

Anonymous said...

Anyother wakeup call to move warships from the crowded Mumbai port.

cybersurg said...

With respect Shiv Aroor-garu, the Vindhyagiri is in dock with one part of the ship's keel resting on the seabed due to flooding of some compartments causing a part of the ship to come into contact with the water that is only 7 meters deep.

The ship floated back to its dock and remains above water. It is moot whether it would have sunk if left in deeper water but as of now it has not sunk. Sinking requires submersion. In an environment where most defence reporters have less knowledge than the average teenage enthusiast - I have come to expect a higher standard from you.

Anonymous said...

Was this ship piloted by family members on board or was it beetle bailey?

Artanis said...

Whats done is done Rest in Peace Vindhyagiri..., now the important thing is to focus on aftermath. It was Capt. and crew of Nordlake who were utterly careless.

Vice-Admiral Sanjeev Bhasin, commander-in-chief of the Western Naval Command, told TOI on Monday, "We have investigated and it is clear that the Nordlakes crew is to blame. Vindhyagiri was returning from the sea with another vessel, MV Sea Eagle, when Nordlake was leaving the harbour. There was immense confusion between the crew of the Nordlake and the Sea Eagle. Finally the crew of the Nordlake panicked and turned the ship, ramming it the engine room and boiler of the Vindhyagiri, which was travelling at low speed. Her fuel tank also ruptured due to the impact.

Bhasin said records of communication between the Nordlake and Sea Eagle show the confusion. "The two ships first wanted to pass to the left of each other. A few minutes later, they decided to pass to the right of each other. Again a decision was taken to pass to the left of each other. As they came closer, the Nordlake crew panicked and turned right. As a result, the ship rammed into the INS Vindhyagiri."

Source: TOI

They have been charged with rash navigation, causing damage and endangering life of others.

Now lets sue the hell out of the owners of Nordlake. Lets charge them for ship,punitive fine for ramming into a military vessel and endangering lives, the fire extinguishing bills and oil spill & environmental hazard control bills.

Anonymous said...

anon 11.55 !!! force=mass X acceleration as per newtons laws of motion!!!!

Anonymous said...

INS Vindhyagiri was supposed to be decommissioned mostly after the induction of 2nd Shivalik class frigate.Two Shivalik Class and three more Talwar class will be inducted by 2014,so fleet size will increase but safety of ships should be reviewed.However it is sad that we lost it(In navy it is called the worst way-loosing ship during peacetime).

KVR said...

The NIlgiri class - Leander class - was made in the early 1970s just after the 1971 Indo-Pak War. The "Improved Leander" class was in the early 1980s - so they are more or less at the end of their life. But it is still unacceptable that this should have happened.

Anonymous said...

My brother saw it first hand from the Viraat. Now the question is - how is it that no one on either ship and no one in the rest of the fleet saw the ships heading towards each other? Are the owners of the merchantman being penalized?

Anonymous said...

11:55 PM,
Modern Naval warfare does not include 'ramming' another ship or the enemy as a standard tactic!
A naval ship fights with its weapons and aircraft NOT with its 'hull' or 'structure'.Thus a naval ship need not be a lumbering mass of metal designed to be a battering ram.A naval ship while being strong also has to be sufficiently light to enable swift deployment,speed and evasive action.Thus a compromise level of weight/steel is used for warships.Tankers/container ships require to carry huge amounts of Cargo, speed/swiftness is secondary.They can be lumbering giants.Were the above not so,the collision between two lumbering masses would have been much worse.

Anonymous said...

Ship has not sunk. It is resting on the sea bed in 7 mtr deep water.

Upendra said...

An ex-Indian Navy Captain sailing on a merchant vessel as a Captain once plotted a course directly overland ...shows how competent our Naval Officers are when it come to navigation and observing rules of the road !

Don't blame poor merchant seamen ...they are used to navigating in most crowded places of the world !

Anonymous said...

1:39 pm
"Modern Naval warfare does not include 'ramming' another ship or the enemy as a standard tactic!"

who said ramming was a tactic.

a warship may take a hit from an enemy missile or shellfire. They should be compartmentalised so that the affected area is swiftly isolated. They cannot sink at the first opportunity

A warship should have greater redundancy than a merchant ship, which appears to have survived the collision intact.

who the hell is this guy said...

another blow to our underwater warefare...HOW COULD ANYBODY BE SO CARELESS when we have depletion of underwater capabilities?
how could one be so careless on ttaxpayer's money??
probably chink-paki are behind this and will celebrate this with those SE(A)MEN..

Anonymous said...


Warships of most countries are commanded by egoistic cocksuckers who expect mere civvie ships to give way.
This can be problematic when said civvie ship is several times their mass and turns as fast as a mountain.

Anonymous said...


What was INS Vindhyagiri doing when there was a confusion between those 2 merchant ships ?

mathi man said...

What if:
-The INS vindhyagiri was a newly commissioned ship with state of art brahmos sea skimming missiles
- INS vindhyagiri had nuke tipped missiles.
- INS vindhyagiri had exploded with all its ammunition.

The worst and sick part is how navy/ indian politics will eat kickbacks to push this under carpet . And if this does nt happen a HC judge in maharashtra will fine Rs . 10000 to this shipping company for this offence.

I know its very negative but these are only possible repurcussions in our country

Anonymous said...

Submarine fleet is already in shit this wasn't needed.

Anonymous said...

@ Upendra - that ex-navy captain must have been a logistic/engineering guy or worst an education cadre captain who was employed by some dumb shipping company in a duty that he was never trained in the navy.
talking of civvie merchant ships navigating in most busy harbours, try entering without a pilot in every possible harbour that you can think of and then come back to me

Anonymous said...

Thirty years back we seven Officers were giving Armoured Tank driving test and drove very cautiously like a passenger car to our surprise our instructor (Russian) failed us and gave us a week for retest after giving a demonstration which was fast and ferocious.similarly flying a military aircraft,steering a warship or driving a tank is not like as in a air plane, cruise ship or a car, you would be going for a battle not a picnic hope you all get it.

Artanis said...

It was returning from a tour carrying families of personnel and some civilians.The MV Nordlake was exiting the harbor as the Vindhyagiri was trying to navigate its way in. The Nordlake steered suddenly to avoid another ship that it was communicating with (MV Sea Eagle). That's when it collided with the warship.

One thing I would like to point out is its damn hard to avoid a collision like this. When a ship is entering dock its speed is very slow and it takes time to power up the engine and turn a ship.
If someone is dumb enough to crash a 175 meter long fully loaded vessel in your ship then there isn't much you can do.

Shael Sharma said...

Navy ships act like local louts, often it is ego, rather than right of way that is followed. There are ships in different state of sinking all over the bloody harbour, the reason for this is clearly a lack of proper and enforced navigation, into and out of the harbour. Add to that haphazard fishing nets, slow fishing boats in shipping channels/lane. Everytime one of these idiots pranks their ship, they spill oil into the harbour, playing hell into the marine life, besides creating a nuisance. There is a reason there are rules, when you break them, ships sink, people lose lives!

Anonymous said...

Lets remember that we are talking about a tonnage differential of many many thousand tonnes.Redundancy has little to do anything with it,sheer mass and momentum has. A shell hit is very different from a collision. An anti-ship missile hit for a ship of this size would be nothing short of catastrophic.In the Falklands HMS Sheffield was sunk by an UNEXPLODED Exocet missile,just the burning rocket motor and resultant fire were enough. A warship has to fight and survive using it weapons,sensors and tactics not by being crash worthy against a 20,000 tonne ship.Surviving catastrophic collisions frankly depends on luck and what you are colliding with.These merchant vessels have large protruding bulb keels and they will result is heck of damage to a ship of barely 2000 tonnes.

Anonymous said...

Dont merchant ships have insurance? oO.. Lets buy a new INS ship with the insurance money !!! :)

Anonymous said...


what navy is taking some select ones for a tour at the cost of Indian taxpayers money !!!!

Upendra said...


''talking of civvie merchant ships navigating in most busy harbours, try entering without a pilot in every possible harbour that you can think of and then come back to me''

The ex Indian Navy was a navigator and it shows the standard of training and competence Indian Navy navigating officers have !

BTW> Everyone uses harbour pilots but as far as worldwide sailing in busy English Channel, Red Sea, Straits of Gibralter, Mallacca Straits etc etc is concerned it is the merchant shipmen who do excellent watchkeeping and navigation.

It is a known fact that ex-Navy personnels are the worst navigators around the world. They just have king-size egos. Can they ever imagine commanding a ULCC or VLCC size vessel with just 18 crew members in total ??

Cheers !

Jay said...

whats going on in mumbai harbour ? we have lost our two ships first one being ICGS vivek. the merchant vessel has to pay for our frigate. no matter it was an old ship. she was active frigate of indian navy.

puskar said...

Commercial interests always come first in our country and that is the reason why most people have commented saying Navy should vacate mumbai harbour. But have forgotten the valour of the navy men during 1971 war and during mumbai floods and marine comando action in mumbai 26/11 attacks. Unfortunately the mumbai coast is not under navy and was under coast guard else 26/11 would never have happened. So let us not drive out our navy from mumbai for the fault of a merchant ship
Moreover like in any road accident it is just not enough if youa re driving safely others should also drive carefully.appears that the pilot of the merchant ship was in a great hurry to finish his duty and go back home and rammed into Vindhyagiri.
Last but not the least Shiv Aroor ji, qualified defence journalist Vindhyagiri is resting on the bed of the harbour and it is not sunk. Dont make your blog akin to India TV and Lemon TV just for a few hits more.

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