Dismayed to hear about the commanding officer of the Indian Navy's frontline frigate INS Talwar, Captain Gopal Suri being relieved of his position last week pending the outcome of an inquiry into an accident at sea. The action against him was expected following a disaster in the darkness on December 23 where the Talwar rammed a fishing boat, sending the 27 fishermen on board flying into the sea (the Talwar subsequently rescued all). But this isn't the first time a skipper has been relived of command.
Commissioned in 2003, Talwar, the first of six modified Krivak III class frigates from Russia, has had a conspicuously unlucky run. In 2012, then commanding officer Captain Rahul Parmar was relieved of command following the death of a sub-lieutenant during a swimming drill -- Parmar was subsequently found guilty by a court martial.
Eight years earlier, on December 27, 2005, the Talwar's sister ship INS Trishul collided with a merchant vessel MV Ambuja Laxmi outside Mumbai harbour, an accident that saw its commanding officer Captain Sunil Edwin David being stripped of command as well.
It's been a rough few months for the Indian Navy following the tragic accident on board submarine INS Sindhurakshak. The navy has invited a few of us for a briefing on Tuesday, where more details will perhaps be available on the nature of the incidents being reported on, safety stand-downs and follow-up action. More details soon.
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