NEW DELHI (TIP): Preliminary investigation into the INS Sindhuratna mishap revealed that it was a human error that could have led to the fire onboard the submarine in which two naval officers lost their lives. The fire and resultant smoke in the INS Sindhuratna started on the mess deck and not in the battery pits of the submarine, the report says.
“Based on preliminary inspection of the third compartment, the likely seat of the fire has been indicated at the mess deck located one deck above the battery pit. Certain electrical cables were observed to be burnt or damaged in this area,” the defence ministry said. A preliminary inspection of the battery pit and the batteries in it revealed that there was neither any damage nor any sign to indicate that the fire could have originated there.
As the batteries appear to be clear of any damage, they would not be put through normal checks and maintenance routines prior to operationalisation, the officials said. The Sindhughosh-class of submarines carries 240 cells, distributed equally in forward and aft battery pits. The batteries currently installed on INS Sindhuratna have completed around 113 cycles till date of their 200-cycle life. “The life of the batteries is valid by date.
The batteries which were being used by INS Sindhuratna at the time of the incident were, therefore, operationally in-date,” naval officials said. Two officers – Lt. Commander Kapish Muwal of Najafgarh, Delhi, and Lt. Commander Manoranjan Kumar of Jharkhand – lost their lives while seven naval personnel were injured in the incident that led to the resignation of Chief of Naval Staff Admiral D.K. Joshi.