INS Betwa, a guided missile frigate that was undergoing a refit at naval dockyard, tipped over during undocking. Two sailors have died in the incident. 14 other sailors have been rescued, and are being treated for minor injuries.
“The incident occurred at 1350 hrs during undocking evolution wherein it is suspected that the dock-block mechanism has failed,” Navy spokersperson Captain DK Sharma said on Monday.
Due to this the mast of the ship has hit the ground on the left side. Capt. Sharma explained that docking and undocking are very precise and complex processes.
The 3,850-ton ship is lying on its side on the dry dock at the naval dockyard. It was docked for underwater repairs, and while being returned to the water – a process that involves tipping the ship – the system snagged and the entire ship fell sideways. The main mast of the guided missile frigate broke.
“This is a very big situation for the navy as this has never happened before,” he said, adding that an inquiry would take place.
The INS Betwa, one of the key warships of the Western Naval Command, is armed with Uran anti-ship missiles, Barak 1 surface-to-air missiles and torpedoes.
In the past, INS Betwa had run aground in January 2014 and collided with an unidentified object which led to a crack in its sonar system, and had also seen saltwater ingress into sensitive equipment.
Named after the river Betwa, the frigate has been in service for over a decade. It was indigenously designed and built with the capability to operate at extended ranges, with speeds up to 30 knots. It’s weapons systems include state-of-the-art sensor suites, long range surface-to-surface missiles and anti-missile defence systems.