INS Vindhyagiri sinks; Navy orders probe

The warship had caught fire after colliding with a merchant vessel off Mumbai Sunday.

Updated: Feb 01, 2011, 14:13 PM IST

Mumbai: An Indian warship was badly damaged
in a fire that engulfed it following collision with a merchant
vessel off the Mumbai coast after which the Navy on Monday ordered
an inquiry and registered an FIR against the crew of the
foreign vessel.

"The ship is presently listing to port and has touched
bottom," a Defence spokesperson said.

The fire fighting that began last evening continued till
about 1.30 pm today after which the blaze on INS Vindhyagiri
was brought under control, the Navy said, adding there was no
oil spill inside the harbour. However, a Coast Guard official
said there was a spill.

The Navy has lodged an FIR with the Yellow Gate Police
Station against the cargo ship M V Nordlake which collided
with the fully-operational Leander-class frigate commissioned
in 1981.

The captain and crew of the merchant vessel were booked
under IPC sections 280 (rash navigation of vessel), 337
(causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of
others) and 427 (mischief causing damage), Deputy Commissioner
of Police (Ports) Khalid Kaisar said.

The Board of Inquiry is expected to look into reasons
behind the collision, assess damage to the ship and recommend
if it was fit to be used again.

Navy sources said after the collision, the ship is lying
on the sea bed in the Naval dockyard and cannot sink
completely due to shallow waters.

All those on board the warship had been evacuated last
evening itself.

The Defence spokesman said water had entered the
compartments of the ship, which developed cracks due to the
impact of the collision, causing it to list to one side. There
was excessive smoke caused probably due to burning of lagging
(insulation material) in the ship`s compartment, he said.

After the collision, the warship was moved into the Naval
Dockyard and berthed. There was fire on board and ingress of
water in some compartments.

Over a dozen tankers were engaged in firefighting
operations, fire brigade sources said.

The collision had occurred near Sunrock lighthouse last
evening when INS Vindhyagiri was returning after a day out for
service families.