Chinese navy ships have arrived off Bali to help haul up a submarine that sank last month, killing 53 crew, the Indonesian Navy said yesterday, as it geared up for a deep-sea salvage operation.
The help arrived after other foreign ships from Australia, Singapore and Malaysia left the archipelago, having assisted Indonesian authorities in finding the stricken vessel.
The KRI Nanggala 402 — one of five submarines in Indonesia’s fleet — disappeared last month while it was scheduled to take part in live torpedo training exercises.
Photo: Reuters /Antara Foto / Budi Candra Setya
An underwater rescue vehicle supplied by Singapore gave visual confirmation that the German-built sub was lying on the sea floor more than 800m deep, broken in three parts, confirming there was no hope of finding survivors.
Two Chinese salvage ships were on standby in waters off Bali, while a third was expected to arrive later yesterday, the Indonesian Navy said, adding that Chinese navy officials in Bali were helping to examine data collected on the submarine.
All three salvage ships can dive up to 4,500m deep.
The Indonesian Navy said that Beijing’s ambassador to the country had offered the help to Indonesian Minister of Defense Prabowo Subianto.
“The offer was welcomed by the Indonesian government,” it said in a statement yesterday.
A vessel from Indonesia’s upstream oil and gas regulator task force SKK Migas, used for drilling operations, is also to join the salvage operations. It has a crane with a capacity of 1,200 tonnes.
Last week, the navy said that high-powered magnets and air balloons were among the possible options to lift the submarine.
An undersea robot would also be used in the operation, it said.
The military has yet to offer an official explanation for the sinking of the decades-old submarine, which was delivered to the Southeast Asian nation in 1981.
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