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Vessels from Singapore and Malaysia to assist in search for missing Indonesian submarine

Vessels from Singapore and Malaysia to assist in search for missing Indonesian submarine

Personnel from the Republic of Singapore Navy casting off the lines for MV Swift Rescue. (Photo: Facebook/Ng Eng Hen)

BALI: Rescue vessels from Singapore and Malaysia are being deployed to assist in the search for a missing Indonesia submarine.  

Indonesia’s military spokesman Major-General Achmad Riad said on Thursday morning (Apr 22) that Singapore is sending MV Swift Rescue.

“Swift Rescue is estimated to arrive on location on Apr 24,” he said in a statement. 

MV Swift Rescue leaving Changi Naval Base to join the search operations off Bali. (Photo: Facebook/Ng Eng Hen)

In a Facebook post, Singapore's defence minister Ng Eng Hen said its submarine rescue vessel was "dispatched expeditiously yesterday afternoon, as fast as she could get ready", after its navy chief received a request for assistance from his Indonesian counterpart. 

"A medical team was also added to the regular crew in the event that hyperbaric care would be needed," said Dr Ng. 

Personnel from the Republic of Singapore Navy embarking the MV Swift Rescue. (Photo: Facebook/Ng Eng Hen)

"Our military ties with Indonesia are very close, built up over the years of bilateral exercises and engagements at all levels. It is only natural that we do whatever we can to assist in times like this.

"The site for search operations, near Bali, is more than 1,500 km away and waters are deep, which is why MV Swift Rescue sailed off as soon as she could," he added.

Malaysia's Mega Bakti, meanwhile, is estimated to arrive at 4pm local time on Sunday. 

Indonesian Navy submarine KRI Nanggala sails in the waters off Tuban, East Java, Indonesia, as seen in this aerial photo taken from Indonesian Navy helicopter of 400 Air Squadron, in this Oct 6, 2014 photo. (Photo: AP/Eric Ireng) Indonesia Submarine

READ: Indonesian navy searching for missing submarine with 53 on board; oil spill found near dive position

The KRI Nanggala 402 submarine went missing on Wednesday with 53 people on board when taking part in a torpedo drill in north Bali waters. Contact with the vessel was lost at 4.30am, after it asked for permission to dive at 3am. 

A total of 49 crew members, one ship commander and three weapons specialists were on board the submarine, the defence ministry had said. 

It added that an oil spill was spotted near the dive position at 7am Western Indonesian time, and two navy vessels with sonar capability have been deployed to assist in the search. 

"It is possible that during static diving, a blackout occurred so control was lost and emergency procedures cannot be carried out and the ship fell to a depth of 600m to 700m," the Indonesian Navy said in a statement on Wednesday.

The submarine was built to sustain pressure at a maximum depth of around 250m, an official said.

The oil spill found on the surface could mean there was damage to its fuel tank or a signal from the crew, the navy said.

According to the defence ministry, the submarine was built in Germany in 1977 and joined Indonesia's fleet in 1981. 

It most recently underwent a two-year refit in South Korea that was completed in 2012, said an official.

UNDERWATER MOVEMENT DETECTED

Other countries that have offered rescue assistance included the United States, Germany, France, Turkey, India, Russia and Australia, Maj Gen Riad said on Thursday.   

The spokesman said in a press conference that five Indonesian navy ships and one helicopter were searching for the missing submarine. 

Oil slicks have been spotted in several different locations, he added. 

"Aside from that, KRI REM 331 (a navy ship) reported that it detected an underwater movement with a speed of 2.5 knots. And then the contact disappeared so there is not enough data to conclude that the contact was the submarine," Maj Gen Riad said. 

Source: CNA/tx

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