The missing vessel in waters off Bali had 53 crew members on board
The Indonesian navy said on Saturday that items from a missing submarine had been found, indicating that the 53-member ship had sunk and there was no hope of finding survivors.
Navy Chief of Staff, Admiral Yudo Margono, said on Saturday that rescuers had found several items, including parts of a torpedo straightener, a bottle of grease used to lubricate the submarine’s periscope and prayer mats.
“With the authentic evidence that we found to be from the submarine, we have now moved from the ‘sub miss’ to ‘sunken sub’ phase,” Margono told a news conference.
Indonesia previously considered the submarine that disappeared on Wednesday off the coast of Bali as missing. But now he declares that the submarine officially sank, with no hope of finding survivors.
Officials said earlier that the submarine’s oxygen supply would have run out early Saturday. Indonesia considered the submarine to be missing.
An American reconnaissance plane, a P-8 Poseidon, landed on Saturday morning and was scheduled to join the search, along with 20 Indonesian ships, an Australian warship equipped with sonar and four Indonesian aircraft.
Rescue vessels from Singapore are also expected on Saturday, while Malaysian rescue ships are expected to arrive on Sunday, reinforcing underwater hunting, Indonesian military spokesman Djawara Whimbo said on Saturday. He said the Indonesian hydrographic vessel has not yet been able to detect an unidentified object exhibiting high magnetism that was detected previously located at a depth of 50 to 100 meters.
There was no sign of the submarine’s life, but family members hoped that the huge search effort would find the vessel in time.
“The family is in good condition and continues to pray,” said Ratih Wardhani, sister of 49-year-old crew member Wisnu Subiyantoro. “We are optimistic that Nanggala can be rescued with the entire crew.”
Indonesian President Joko Widodo ordered all efforts to locate the submarine and asked Indonesians to pray for the safe return of the crew.
Oil stain found
The search focused on an area close to the starting position of his last dive, where an oil slick was found, but there was no conclusive evidence at the time that the spot was from the submarine.
Margono, the head of the navy, said the oil could have spilled from a crack in the submarine’s fuel tank or the crew could have released fuel and fluids to reduce the ship’s weight so it could emerge.
The navy, however, believes that the submarine sank to a depth of 600-700 meters (2,000-2,300 feet), much deeper than its 200 meter (655 feet) collapse depth, at which the water pressure would be bigger than the hull could support.
The cause of the disappearance is still uncertain. The Navy said an electrical failure may have left the submarine unable to perform emergency procedures to resurface.
The KRI Nanggala 402, built in Germany, has been in service in Indonesia since 1981 and has carried 49 crew and three gunners, in addition to its commander, the Indonesian Ministry of Defense said.
Indonesia, the largest archipelago in the world with more than 17,000 islands, has faced increasing challenges to its maritime claims in recent years, including several incidents involving Chinese vessels near the Natuna Islands.