Indonesia: Missing Indonesian submarine has enough oxygen for crew until Saturday, says Navy

Admiral Yudo Margono, the chief of staff of the Indonesian navy, said the submarine had enough oxygen for 72 hours, based on calculations when the vessel lost contact during a military exercise on Wednesday.

The German KRI Nanggala-402 asked permission to dive or go under at around 03:00 local time on Wednesday before losing contact, authorities said. Margono said the submarine had just fired two torpedoes – one with real ammunition and the other with a training head – as part of training exercises in the Strait of Bali, a stretch of water between the islands of Java and Bali that joins the Indian Ocean. . and Bali See.

Asked about the condition of the submarine before participating in the war simulation, Margono said the KRI Nanggala-402 and all its crew were well prepared. It last crashed in 2020 in Surabaya, a port city on the island of Java, for maintenance, he said.

The army suspects that an oil spill that was seen near the dive point during air observation on Wednesday came from the rig. Margono said the navy also found one object at a depth of 50-100 meters (about 164-328 feet) that was magnetic, meaning it probably came from the submarine.

Margono said there are two possibilities to explain the oil spill on the surface: the underwater tank may be leaking because it dives too deep, or the submarine released liquid on board in an attempt to rise to the surface.

Indonesian Navy spokesman Julius Widjojono said the submarine had the capacity to dive up to 500 meters below sea level, but authorities estimated it was 100-200 meters below the depth.

The Ministry of Defense said that two ships equipped with side-scan sonar, a tool used for mapping the seabed, began searching the area on Wednesday. according to Widjojono.

The authorities hold out hope that the crew is safe, but acknowledge that the situation at that depth could be fatal.

“Let’s pray for them so they can survive,” Widjojono told local media on Wednesday.

Members of the National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) are preparing for the search mission for the KRI Nanggala-402 in Benoa Port in Bali, Indonesia.

The International Submarine Escape and Rescue Liaison Office (ISMERLO), an organization that facilitates an international response for emergency submarines, is also providing assistance, the Ministry of Defense said.

The KRI Nanggala-402 of 1 395 tons was built in 1977 by the German shipbuilding company Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) and joined the ranks of the Indonesian navy in 1981, according to the ministry’s statement.

According to the Indonesian Cabinet Secretariat, the submarine underwent a two-year overhaul in South Korea that was completed in 2012.

In the past, Indonesia operated a fleet of 12 submarines purchased from the Soviet Union to patrol the waters of its vast archipelago. But now it has a fleet of only five, including two German-built Type 209 submarines and three newer South Korean vessels.

Indonesia has tried to upgrade its defense capability, but some of its equipment still in service is old and there have been fatal accidents in recent years, especially with obsolete military transport aircraft.

CNN’s Kara Fox contributed to this report.