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Torpedo Vessel mishap: Search on for 4 missing Navy personnel

PTI 07 Nov 2014, 15:59:45 PM IST

New Delhi: A full scale search is underway to trace the four missing Navy personnel after a vessel sank off the Vishakhapatnam coast last night. A Board of Inquiry has also been set up to look into the cause of the mishap.

One sailor died while 23 others aboard the Torpedo Recovery Vessel were rescued last night.

In view of the accident, Navy Chief Admiral R K Dhowan, who is on a four-day visit to Seychelles till November 9, is cutting short his visit to reach Visakhapatnam, Navy officials said.

Nine ships of the Eastern fleet and a few aircraft including Boeing P81, Dorniers, SKG 42C with night vision capabilities and Chetak helicopters were deployed through the night to search for missing personnel, Navy spokesperson D K Sharma said.

Citing preliminary information, the Navy sources said the "probable reason" for the sinking of the vessel seems to be ingress of sea-water in the Engine room and Aft Steering compartment.

This, they said, could have been because one of the seals in the shaft gave way, which is a maintenance issue.

This particular ship was built by Goa Shipyard Limited in 1983 and has served the Navy for the last 31 years.

Sources said the average age of a ship is usually 20-25 years but there has been cases when older ships have continued to be in service for longer.

The Navy had released a statement last night saying that there were 28 personnel on board at the time of accident.

The desired load of this vessel is about a crew of 13 but sources said operational requirements have to be factored in.

"The Board of Inquiry headed by a Captain will go into all aspects of the accident," a senior Naval officer said.

The vessel went down at 8 pm last night while it was on a "routine" mission to recover practice torpedoes fired by fleet ships during a "routine" exercise, the Navy statement had said.