JAKARTA: An Indonesian military spokesman said 25 ships have joined the search for an Indonesian submarine which went missing during a military exercise, as more ships were on their way to the scene.
Military spokesman Major-General Achmad Riad told a press conference on Friday (Apr 23) that currently there were 18 navy ships participating in the rescue efforts, as well as four more from the police and three from the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas).
“More are expected to join (the rescue efforts) including from our foreign counterparts. From Singapore, MV Swift Rescue is on its way and expected to join in tonight,” he said.
MV Swift Rescue is a submarine rescue vessel.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, Singapore’s Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said the vessel was “dispatched expeditiously” on Wednesday afternoon, adding that “a medical team was also added to the regular crew in the event that hyperbaric care would be needed.”
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Malaysia is sending one vessel, MV Mega Bakti, to assist the rescue efforts. Meanwhile, Australia is sending two of its rescue ships and the United States is sending its airborne teams.
The KRI Nanggala 402 submarine went missing on Wednesday with 53 people on board when taking part in a torpedo drill in north Bali waters. Contact with the vessel was lost at 4.30am, after it asked for permission to dive at 3am.
A total of 49 crew members, one ship commander and three weapons specialists were on board the submarine, the defence ministry had said.
The military assumed that the submarine was currently experiencing a power outage. In that condition, the submarine could run out of oxygen by 3am on Saturday.
READ: Missing submarine – Oxygen will run out in 72 hours during a power blackout, says Indonesian navy chief
Maj-Gen Riad said on Friday that Indonesia “is welcoming all the help we can get” from other countries but prioritising ships with sonar capabilities.
The military has also deployed KRI Rigel, a navy underwater survey vessel which played an important role during the search for the Sriwijaya Air SJ-182, which crashed shortly after taking off from Jakarta on Jan 9.
Maj-Gen Riad said that the underwater vessel would immediately get to work to investigate reports of an underwater movement involving “an object with high magnetic force”. The object was reported by one of the ships searching for the missing submarine.
“Hopefully with all the resources available, we will be able to locate KRI Nanggala and rescue those on board,” he said.