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‘Miscalculation’ caused INS Betwa to tip over, says Manohar Parrikar

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar indicated here on Wednesday that one of the reasons for tipping over of guided missile frigate INS Betwa during undocking at Naval Dockyard in Mumbai could be “miscalculation of balance”.

Parrikar, who has been briefed by Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba, spoke about the importance of centre of gravity.

He explained that when a ship undergoes refit, a lot of machines and fixtures like propeller, engine, etc are removed due to which the balance gets disturbed.

“You are supposed to maintain it. Something must have gone wrong in that,” Parrikar said speaking at Agenda Aaj Tak.

He said there could have been a “miscalculation” and added that a Board of Inquiry is on and it will pinpoint the reasons.

Parrikar was responding to a question as to whether the INS Betwa accident showed Navy’s inability to absorb high technology. Rear Admiral Deepak Bali, Flag-Officer Offshore Defence Advisory Group, is heading the Board of Inquiry.

The 3,850-tonne ship, with a length of 126 metres, tipped over while it was being undocked. The mast of the ship hit the dockyard ground. It was docked for repairs and while being returned to the water — a process that involves tipping the ship, the system tripped and the entire ship fell sideways. The main mast of the frigate broke.

INS Betwa, a Brahmaputra-class guided missile warship (F-39), slipped on the dock blocks during a refit at about 01:50 PM on Monday.

The ship 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 salt water ingress into sensitive equipment.

Named after the river Betwa, the frigate has been in service for over 12 years. It was indigenously designed and built with the capability to operate at extended ranges, with speeds up to 30 knots. It is one of the key warships of the Western Naval Command. It is armed with Uran anti-ship missiles, Barak 1 surface-to-air missiles and torpedoes.

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