On Saturday, Indonesia resumed its search for a navy submarine off the coast of Bali, hours after the oxygen supply for the 53 crew members on board was thought to have run out, with a US reconnaissance plane and other nations’ vessels expected to join the search.
The KRI Nanggala 402 may have sunk too far to be reached or recovered in time. It went missing after its last confirmed dive off the resort island on Wednesday, and the navy chief predicted it would run out of oxygen early Saturday morning.
“We will continue to search until we find it, regardless of the outcome,” Indonesian military spokesman Djawara Whimbo said.
Along with 20 Indonesian ships, a sonar-equipped Australian warship, and four Indonesian aircraft, an American reconnaissance plane, the P-8 Poseidon, landed early Saturday and is expected to join the search.
Singaporean rescue ships are expected to arrive later Saturday, and Malaysian rescue ships are expected to arrive Sunday, bolstering the underwater search, according to Whimbo.
He said that Indonesia’s hydrographic vessel had yet to detect an elusive object with strong magnetism that had been discovered previously at a depth of 50 to 100 meters (165 to 330 feet).
He speculated, “The object is floating in the sea, so it may be moving.”
Later Saturday, the Indonesian military, navy, and police chiefs will hold a press conference.
While there have been no signs of life from the submarine, family members remain hopeful that the massive search operation would locate it in time.
Ratih Wardhani, the sister of 49-year-old crewman Wisnu Subiyantoro, said, “The family is in good shape and continues to pray.” “We believe the Nanggala can be saved with its entire crew.”
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has asked Indonesians to pray for the crew’s safe return and has directed all efforts to locate the submarine.
The search centered on an area near the sub’s last dive’s starting point, where an oil slick was discovered, but there is no definitive proof that the oil slick was caused by the submarine so far.
Oil may have leaked from a gap in the submarine’s fuel tank, or the crew could have released fuel and fluids to minimize the vessel’s weight so it could surface, according to Navy Chief of Staff Adm. Yudo Margono.
The navy, on the other hand, claims the submarine sank to a depth of 600-700 meters (2,000-2,300 feet), much lower than the collapse depth of 200 meters (655 feet), where the water pressure would be too much for the hull to withstand.
The reason for the disappearance remains unknown. According to the navy, an electrical malfunction could have prevented the submarine from performing emergency resurfacing procedures.
According to the Indonesian Defense Ministry, the German-built diesel-powered KRI Nanggala 402 has been in operation in Indonesia since 1981 and was carrying 49 crew members, three gunners, and its commander.
In recent years, Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago nation with over 17,000 islands, has faced increasing challenges to its maritime claims, including many incidents involving Chinese vessels near the Natuna Islands.
- 402 Submarine: M Risyal Hidayat, Antara Foto/Reuters