Indonesian, Singaporean navies locate missing submarine Nanggala

Photo: Indonesian Navy

Ships of the Indonesian Navy and the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) have found the wreckage of the lost Indonesian diesel-electric submarine KRI Nanggala, Singapore defence minister Ng Eng Hen confirmed via a social media post on Sunday, April 25.

Mr Ng said the crew of the Indonesian Navy research vessel KRI Rigel located the wreckage at the bottom of the Bali Strait between Bali and Java using sonar. The Indonesian crew then directed RSN personnel on board the submarine rescue vessel Swift Rescue to deploy a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to provide visual confirmation and to retrieve items and other debris.

Video footage provided by the ROV confirmed that the wreckage lying 840 metres beneath the surface was indeed that of Nanggala.

The submarine had gone missing while participating in torpedo drills 100 kilometres off Bali on Wednesday, April 21.

The ROV video feed showed that the submarine had broken into three parts, leading Indonesian National Armed Forces chief Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto to declare that all 53 crewmembers on board had perished in the incident.

The ROV also revealed other debris including parts of the hull, the rudder, a dive plane, and a submarine escape suit in the same area.

Indonesian Navy chief of staff Admiral Yudo Margono said Nanggala likely suffered a hull crack that worsened as the submarine went deeper.

An explosion did not occur in this case since nothing was detected by nearby ships’ sonars at the time of the submarine’s last radio transmission at 03:00 local time on Wednesday, Margono added.

The news of Nanggala‘s discovery comes one day after Indonesian defence officials announced the sighting of debris initially suspected to have come from the ill-fated submarine. These include part of a submarine’s torpedo system, a bottle of periscope lubricant, and a Muslim prayer mat.

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