IO – The operation to lift the KRI Nanggala-402 submarine from the bottom of Balinese waters officially ended last Wednesday (02/06/2021). The Operation was jointly performed by Indonesian domestic agencies (including the National Police, the Maritime Security Agency, and the National Search and Rescue Agency) with the help of foreign countries, including China, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, and the United States. “The rescue is ended,” said the Head of the Naval Forces’ Information Office, First Admiral Julius Widjojono, on Wednesday (02/06/2021).
The Operation was based on images recorded by Indonesian ship KRI Rigel-933, which were employed by Singaporean rescue ship MV Swift Rescue. 13 underwater operations performed jointly with China generated more comprehensive images and videos of the parts of the sunken submarine. The location of its bow and the emergency estimate reference point (datum) is about 47 meters. The sea floor is described as muddy, and this was confirmed by the fact that a number of submarine parts and items were found to be covered in mud.
Underwater observation discovered an unidentified area estimated to be an underwater crater with a diameter 36 meters at an estimated depth of 10-15 meters. The parts of KRI Nanggala-402 that are located and identified are the bow section, sail section, and stern section. However, these sections are located separately. The bow and sail sections were 107 meters away from each other, while the stern and sail sections were 36 meters distant.
For the Lifting Operation of the KRI Nanggala-402, two Chinese military ships and one scientific ship outfitted with ocean floor survey equipment joined six ships deployed by the Indonesian Navy. The Chinese ships were Yongxingdao-863, Nan Tuo-195, and Tan Suo 2, while the Indonesian ships were KRI Rigel-963, KRI Yos Sudarso-353, KRI Hasan Basri-382, KRI Teluk Banten-516, KRI Pulau Rengat-711, and KRI Soputan-923.
Before it was declared to have sunk on Saturday, 24 April 2021, all contact with KRI Nanggala-402 was lost on Wednesday, 21 April 2021. A 72-hour search was then mounted. During the search, Indonesian Army forces discovered oil spills and debris that served as evidence that KRI Nanggala-402 had indeed sunk. Debris include parts of torpedo tube straightener, cooling pipe wrapper, and an orange-colored bottle later identified as a container for submarine periscope lube. Praying equipment used by the Nanggala crew and sponges to withhold heat in the pressroom were also found. Based on these findings, the Indonesian Army declared the KRI Nanggala-402 to have sunk and all 53 of its crew members died in the line of duty. “With this authentic evidence from the Nanggala, we are forced to declare that the submarine’s status has changed from ‘submiss’ to ‘subsunk;,” said the Naval Chief of Staff, Admiral Yudo Margono, in an official statement.
Efforts to lift up the remains of KRI Nanggala-402 started in early May 2021. Twenty dives were performed during the salvage operation. The Operation resulted in the identification of submarine parts and the salvage of hundreds of items. All of the items from KRI Nanggala-402 discovered underwater, including two life rafts weighing about 700 kilogram each, were delivered to the Indonesian Navy. The important materials salvaged during the Operation, as well as the various images and videos of the submarine, showed the success of the Joint Salvage Team’s hard work.
Head of the Armada II Command’s Marine Security Task Force, First Admiral I Gung Putu Alit Jaya, admitted that the effort was far from being easy. The Operation was highly risky and difficult. Other than having to face risks due to the tides and pressures of the sunken depth of 830 meters, salvaging the submarine itself was extremely difficult due to its large size and weight.
Now, the KRI Nanggala-402 and the stalwart sailors of the Hiu Kencana Company have gone home to their final resting place, to the region that they lost their life in guarding: the Indonesian seas. They are now on eternal patrol. Farewell, God bless on your final duty towards eternity! (eka)