The Indonesian Navy Type 209/1300 submarine KRI Nanggala has reportedly gone missing during a torpedo firing exercise in North Bali.
The navy launched a search and rescue operation on April 21 after the submarine failed to report back for a post-maneuver brief following the exercises.
It is still unclear what could have caused the disappearance of the diesel-electric submarine and its 53 crew. There are fears that an accident could have been caused by an explosion of one of the torpedoes.
According to marine traffic data, the Republic of Singapore Navy submarine support and rescue vessel (SSRV) Swift Rescue appears to be headed for the Bali Sea, where the exercise was taking place.
According to a notice to airmen (NOTAM) posted by AirNav Indonesia, the country’s air navigation services provider, the drills were taking place off Surabaya.
Nanggala is the second of two Cakra-class submarines bought by the Indonesian Navy from Germany in the 1980s.
The submarine went missing around 03.00 a.m., some 95 kilometers north of Bali. Reports from throughout the day indicated that, in a worst case scenario, the submarine could have gone down in a 700-meter deep trench. It is worth noting that the old submarine can dive to a maximum depth of around 300 meters.
The country has also officially asked for international assistance, with Singapore, India and Australia, all countries with submarine rescue capabilities and assets, responding.
The country’s defense ministry confirmed the discovery of an oil spill near the spot where contact with the submarine was lost.