RAN ships to join search for missing Indonesian submarine

The Indonesian submarine KRI Nanggala participates in a photo exercise in the Java Sea during Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Indonesia 2015. (Photo: US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alonzo M. Archer)

The Australian Department of Defence (DOD) has said that the Indonesian government has accepted Australia’s offer to help search for the missing submarine KRI Nanggala.

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) frigate HMAS Ballarat and fleet oiler HMAS Sirius, both at sea on separate regional deployments, are making speed for the search area, the DOD said in a statement on Friday, April 23.

The DOD expects Ballarat, which is equipped with sonar capabilities and an embarked MH-60R helicopter, to be in the search area today after transiting the Lombok Strait. Sirius, currently off the coast of Brunei, will arrive in the search area no later than Tuesday, April 27.

The two Australian ships will help expand the search area and extend the duration of the search effort, said Rear Admiral Mark Hammond, Commander Joint Task Force 635.

Communication was lost with Nanggala while it was participating in a training exercise on Wednesday, April 21. The submarine’s last known location was about 100 kilometres north of Bali.

The submarine has a crew of 53 on board.

Indonesian officials said Nanggala’s oxygen supply will last until Saturday, April 24. However, the sighting of an oil spill near the submarine’s last known location has raised fears that it may have gone well below its rated crush depth and suffered a hull breach in the process.

Baird Maritime

The best maritime site on the web. The sea's our scene!