Russian shipyard says ready to help India look into submarine accident.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013 16:36

Russia's Zvyozdochka shipyard said it is ready to provide complete assistance to India in ascertaining the cause of the accident which resulted in the sinking of the Sindhurakshak, a diesel electric submarine of the Indian Navy, a spokeswoman said.

The submarine partially sank in the port of Mumbai overnight to Wednesday. All the 18 crew on board died.

"The Severodvinsk-based company regards the accident as personal tragedy, as members of the Indian crew lived in Russian families for more than two years," Zvyozdochka spokeswoman Nadezhda Shcherbinina said.

The Russian specialists were not hurt in the accident, Shcherbinina said.

The Indian Navy commander, D.K. Joshi, said the divers who had entered the submarine after a 12-hour rescue effort found no survivors. The submarine will be hoisted to the surface. Preliminary reports said a fire had started during the loading of ammunition in the torpedo section which resulted in an explosion.

First Deputy Chairman of the Military-Industrial Commission Ivan Kharchenko said the Unified Shipbuilding Corporation /OSK/ would send extra specialists to India to ascertain the cause of the explosion.

"The OSK is in contact with India over the matter. It has been suggested that more specialists be sent to help ascertain the cause," Kharchenko said.

On Wednesday morning, OSK director Vladimir Shmakov briefed Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin on the accident.

The submarine was upgraded and handed over to Indian in January. After that it logged a mileage equivalent of round-the-world trip and was preparing to sail out to sea.

A group of Zvyozdochka representatives, who are in India for technical maintenance and control, were not on board when torpedoes were loaded, according to Kharchenko. Most of the submarine is submerged at a depth of 15 meters, except the control cabin.

The Sindhurakshak was built by the Admiralteiskiye Verfi shipyard in St Petersburg under a contract with the Indian Navy. The submarine was upgraded in Severodvinsk and sailed to Mumbai in January, 2013. Zvyozdochka is part of the Unified Shipbuilding Corporation.

On June 4, 2010, the Indian Defense Ministry and Zvyozdochka signed a contract to carry out intermediate-level maintenance and upgrade the submarine. In August, the submarine arrived at Severodvinsk. A modern Club-S missile system was installed on the submarine together with more than 10 Indian and foreign systems, including the Ushus hydro-acoustic system and the CCS-MK-2 communication system.

"The coolant system has been modernized; a Porpoise radar has been installed and other works have been carried out to enhance the submarine’s combat capability and safe operation," a Zvyozdochka official noted.

In June 2012, the submarine was floated out after the staples phase of repairs. In November-December, the submarine successfully completed performance trials and the tests of torpedo and missile armaments at firing ranges in the White Sea.

Zvyozdochka specializes in repairs and recycling of nuclear submarines. It has modernized five diesel electric submarines for the Indian Navy since 1997. The company is continuing repairs and upgrade of a similar vessel in the town of Visakhapatnam, India.

The submarine, designed by the Rubin design bureau in St.Petersburg, is intended for fighting enemy submarines and vessels and defending naval bases, coastal and marine service lines, reconnaissance and patrol. Such submarines have department of 2,300 tons, length 72.6 meters, maximum speed of 19 knots /35 km/h/ diving depth 300 meters, crew 52 and endurance 45 days. They are armed with six 533 mm torpedo launchers while a modernized version carries Club-S cruise missiles with a range of 200 kilometers.

ARKHANGELSK, August 14 (Itar-Tass)

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