BALI: All 53 crew members on board a sunken Indonesian submarine have been confirmed dead, with debris of the vessel found, said Indonesia’s military chief on Sunday (Apr 25). 

Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto said search teams have received “visual images” which have been confirmed as parts of the KRI Nanggala 402 submarine, such as the rear vertical rudder, anchors and the outside of the pressure body. 

“… Based on authentic evidence we state that KRI Nanggala 402 has sunk and all of the crew members have died.

“Therefore, with deep sadness, as the commander, I declare that 53 KRI Nanggala 402 personnel have died,” said ACM Tjahjanto at a press conference in Bali.

He added that the vessel was broken into three parts.

At least 25 Indonesian ships are involved in the search for KRI Nanggala 402. Ships from other countries, including Singapore’s MV Swift Rescue have also been deployed. The submarine support and rescue vessel arrived early on Sunday and joined the search.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, Singapore’s Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said the vessel was “dispatched expeditiously” on Wednesday afternoon, adding that “a medical team was also added to the regular crew in the event that hyperbaric care would be needed.”

Swift Rescue 1

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

Malaysia’s MV Mega Bakti, another a submarine rescue ship, has also arrived and joined the search. 

On Saturday, ACM Tjahjanto said: “The navy has found oil spill and parts of objects which is evidence that the KRI Nanggala has sunk”. 

Navy chief Yudo Margono on Saturday also showed reporters some of the objects that have been recovered, including part of a torpedo, part of a praying mat and grease. 

He said that a scan had detected the submarine at 850m. The vessel is built to withstand a depth of up to 500m.

The navy chief noted that the Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle (ROV) on MV Swift Rescue can function at the depth of up to 1,000m.

Indonesia Submarine

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)

The Indonesian submarine went missing on Wednesday while taking part in a torpedo drill in north Bali waters. 

The military earlier assumed that the submarine experienced a power outage. In that condition, the submarine could have run out of oxygen by 3am on Saturday.

In a statement on Sunday, President Joko Widodo said: “This tragedy shocked us all. Not only the families of the 53 crew members and the navy, but also the entire Indonesia people.”

“We all, the people of Indonesia, would like to convey our sadness … especially to the families. They are the best sons of Indonesia, the best patriots.”


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