New Delhi: Navy Chief Admiral D K Joshi has resigned after a submarine accident off the shore of Mumbai this morning. An official statement said he had stepped down taking moral responsibility for the “accidents and incidents which have taken place during the past few months.”
Admiral Joshi, who took charge in 2012, had one more year in office and is the first navy chief to resign. The Defence Ministry has accepted his resignation. Vice Admiral RK Dhowan will officiate till a new chief is appointed.
This morning, a fire reportedly broke out in the crew accommodation area of the Indian Navy submarine INS Sindhuratna, which was being sea tested after a refit, about 40 to 50 km off the Mumbai coast. The submarine surfaced after smoke was detected on it and is on its way to Mumbai.
Seven sailors fell unconscious from suffocation and had to be airlifted to a Navy hospital in Mumbai. Two officers are reported missing. The senior-most submarine officer of the Western Naval Command was on board.
The Russian-origin Kilo Class submarine was carrying no weapons or ammunition. Since it was still in testing mode, it had not been placed under operational command yet.
This is the 10th mishap involving an Indian Navy warship and the third submarine accident in the last seven months.
In August last year, Navy submarine INS Sindhurakshak sank in the Mumbai harbour after an explosion on board, killing 18 sailors.
Earlier this month, an amphibious warfare vessel INS Airavat ran aground after which its commanding officer was stripped of his command duties.