Indonesia navy searching for submarine with 53 aboard

Wednesday April 21 2021
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This handout from the Indonesia military taken on February 20, 2019 and released on April 21, 2021 shows the crew and officers during a ceremony onboard the Indonesian Cakra class submarine KRI Nanggala at the naval base in Surabaya. Indonesia's military said it was searching for the submarine with 53 crew aboard after losing contact with the vessel during naval exercises off the coast of Bali on April 21, 2021. PHOTO/AFP

By AFP

Indonesia's military said it was searching for a submarine with 53 crew aboard after losing contact with the vessel during naval exercises off the coast of Bali on Wednesday.

Indonesia's military chief Hadi Tjahjanto told the media that the navy had dispatched warships off the northern coast of the island to search for it, and that neighbours Singapore and Australia had been asked for help.

He added there were 53 crew aboard the vessel, which was believed to be in waters about 700 metres (2,300 feet) deep.

First Admiral Julius Widjojono said they had lost contact with the 43-year-old German-built submarine early Wednesday morning. 

"We know the area but it's quite deep," he said. 

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An oil spill was spotted in waters where an Indonesian submarine with 53 crew submerged shortly before losing contact, the country's defence ministry said Wednesday, as the military scrambled to find the missing vessel. PHOTO/AFP

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The vessel was reportedly to conduct live-fire torpedo exercises before contact was lost. 

The 1,300-tonne KRI Nanggala 402 was built in 1978, according to a government website. 

Indonesia, which has been moving to upgrade its military equipment in recent years, has five German and South Korean-built submarines in its fleet. 

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