Indonesia searching for missing submarine with 53 on board

Tanya Simon
April 21, 2021

The German-built KRI Nanggala-402, which went into service in the early 1980s, failed to relay results of the exercise as expected, Julius Widjojono said, according to Reuters.

Some reports say contact was lost after the submarine had been given clearance to dive into deeper waters. Two navy vessels had been dispatched to use sonar to search the area, the defense ministry said.

Indonesia has requested the help of Australia and Singapore in finding the submarine.

Tjahjanto said the navy had deployed ships to search the area and asked for help from Singapore and Australia, which have submarine rescue vessels.

Fears were growing for the lives of 53 people on Wednesday after Indonesia's defence ministry found oil floating in the sea above a deep-sea trench where a Navy submarine has vanished.

Tjahjanto told local outlet Kompas that the submarine disappeared in waters about 60 miles the north of Bali Island around 3 a.m. local time, but told Reuters they lost contact around 4:30 a.m.

Local media reports said the navy believed the ship sank into a trough at a depth of 700 metres.

Image shows a map of Indonesia and the location where the submarine went missing

The military chief confirmed that assistance in the search for the submarine and missing crew members had been sought from Australia and Singapore.

'The navy is now searching for [the submarine], said First Admiral Julius Widjojono.

The 1,395-tonne KRI Nanggala-402 was built in Germany in 1978, according to the Indonesian cabinet secretariat's website, and underwent a two-year refit in South Korea that was completed in 2012.

According to the Daily Star, which cites the country's military chief, the missing vessel is one of five submarines in the Indonesian Navy.

In 2016, an Indonesian air force transport plane crashed into a mountain, killing all 13 people board, during a training exercise in the remote region of Papua.

Indonesia in the past operated a fleet of 12 submarines purchased from the Soviet Union to patrol the waters of its sprawling archipelago.

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