Nearly a month after massive explosions sunk the INS Sindhurakshak submarine in its dock in Mumbai, killing all 18 personnel on board, the Indian Navy has invited bids to salvage the wrecked boat.
My network colleague Gautam Datt reports that five firms (Titan Salvage, Smit, Ocean Centre Diving, Arihant Divers, Graph Tech Marine and Duke Offshore) have submitted proposals on salvaging the Kilo.
The extent of damage and destruction on board the submarine is evident from how divers working on the submarine for over 20 days have been unable to access all areas, including the top deck in the forward compartment, and not all 18 bodies have been recovered. Unspeakable tragedy for the families.
A navy officer involved in assessing damage to the submarine pointed to the following:
- The submarine still has weapons on board, possibly both torpedoes and missiles. These will need to be attended to on priority to make sure they don't pose a threat during salvage.
- The pressure bulkhead areas in the forward and mid sections are completely warped/destroyed.
- A hull rupture in the forward section means pumping out the viscously oily sea water inside the boat is impossible.
- As Datt reports in the piece linked above, limited depth at the dockyard gravely limits salvaging options. And like he also rightly says, lifting the submarine fully out will only be possible after a full structural damage assesement that's still on.