Indonesia pledges new homes for relatives of doomed submariners

Indonesia pledges new homes for relatives of doomed submariners

missing submarine sailor
Yayak Dwi Ernawati showing the wedding photo of her daughter Mega Dian Pratiwi and her son-in-law Pandu Yudha Kusuma, the latter of whom was on board the Indonesian submarine KRI Nanggala 402. (Photo: Kiki Siregar)

JAKARTA: Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Thursday (Apr 29) that authorities would build houses for the relatives of the crew of a submarine that went missing before being found in pieces on the bottom of the Bali Sea, with all 53 personnel on board confirmed dead.

The German-built KRI Nanggala 402 was discovered at a depth of nearly 840m last Sunday after losing contact days earlier while preparing for a torpedo drill.

"We will build houses for you ... which can be located based on your wishes," the president, usually known as Jokowi, said when he met with relatives in a hangar at a naval airbase in East Java.

Jokowi said this week that the government would posthumously raise the crew members' military ranks and finance the education of their children.

READ: All 53 on board sunken Indonesian submarine confirmed dead, more debris found

Commentary: Submariners face huge challenges underwater - where there's no margin for error

This week, grieving relatives gathered in different parts of Indonesia to pay their respects to the sailors who perished, and urged the authorities to raise their bodies from the depths.

The Indonesian navy has been trying to work out how to salvage the remains of the submarine.

Experts warn that it will be a daunting task to lift the submarine to the surface, requiring specialised salvage equipment.

First Admiral Julius Widjojono, a spokesman for the navy, said on Wednesday that authorities were coordinating with the state energy regulator to see whether companies had gear to lift heavy parts.

An international search and rescue effort involving aircraft and specialised naval vessels, including from Singapore, Australia and the United States, had raced to try to find the submarine in case it was still intact and before oxygen ran out.

On Sunday, Indonesia's military chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto confirmed that the Nanggala had sunk and that all of its crew had died.

Source: Reuters/kg