Published: Wed, April 21, 2021
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Indonesia searching for missing submarine with dozens of people on board

Indonesia searching for missing submarine with dozens of people on board

Indonesian rescuers searching for the submarine found an oil spill today near the vessel's dive location, authorities said.

Officials have called on Australia and Singapore to help in the search.

Indonesia's military chief Hadi Tjahjanto told AFP the navy had dispatched warships off the northern coast of the island to search for it, and that neighbours Singapore and Australia had been asked for help.

Indonesia's navy has lost contact with a submarine carrying 53 sailors that was preparing for a weapons training exercise in waters north of Bali, a military spokesman said Wednesday.

In a statement published Wednesday night, the Indonesian Ministry of Defense said the KRI Nanggala-402, a German-made submarine, lost contact during a torpedo drill in the Bali Strait - a stretch of water between the islands of Java and Bali that connects to the Indian Ocean and the Bali Sea.

Fifty-three people are said to be on board the missing submarine, which may be at a depth of 700 metres, media reports say.

"Just when the dive permit was given, after being given the clearance, contact was immediately lost", he told the paper.

The navy sent out an global distress signal, and "several countries have responded and are ready to help including Singapore, Australia and India", the ministry said.

'We don't know yet whether the communication equipments were broken or the submarine has sunken.

According to Reuters, the 1,395-tonne vessel was built in 1978 and underwent a two-year retrofit in South Korea in 2012.

Indonesia in the past operated a fleet of 12 submarines purchased from the Soviet Union to patrol the waters of its sprawling archipelago.

According to the Daily Star, which cites the country's military chief, the missing vessel is one of five submarines in the Indonesian Navy.

Indonesia has been seeking to modernise its defence capabilities but some of its equipment still in service is old and there have been deadly accidents in recent years.

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