Indonesia stops salvage of sunken submarine

The Indonesian Navy has ended its operation to recover submarine KRI Nanggala-402. It has proved impossible to bring the parts of the submarine, which lie in 840-metre-deep water, to the surface. The vessel sank off the island of Bali in April, resulting in the deaths of all 53 people on board.

The submarine broke into pieces and they lie at a depth of about 840 metres. The authorities had already recognised the difficulty of recovering the entire vessel, despite help from countries in the region. The Navy now acknowledges that some parts of the Nanggala remain on the seabed. ‘The salvage operation is over,’ a spokesman said.

Also read: Indonesian submarine found broken in pieces, underwater currents suspected cause

The Indonesian armed forces lost contact with the submarine on 21 April. This led to a race against time to find the vessel before the oxygen on board ran out. Indonesia also received a lot of help in this search from abroad. But in the end, it was not possible to save the people on board.

Experts had already warned that it would take specialised equipment to remove the wreck from the seabed. The Navy said at the end of April that it was looking at how other countries had handled such operations. A senior military officer suggested that special cables or balloons, for example, could be used to bring parts of the ship to the surface.

Twenty dives have been carried out and some important materials have been brought to the surface according to the Indonesian Navy. Senior Colonel Chen Yongjing representing the Chinese Government, which helped in the salvage operation, said during the dives as much documentation in the form of photos and videos was obtained as possible. The parts of the KRI Nanggala that were raised have been handed over to Indonesia.

Also read: Indonesia to salvage sunken submarine

Source (in part): ANP

Picture by U.S. Pacific Fleet/Flickr.

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.