The missing Indonesian submarine has finally been found, however, the ship was broken into three parts.
Indonesia’s military confirmed that all 53 crew members on board have been declared dead.
An announcement was made a day after Indonesia declared that a missing submarine last week was considered sunk.
“It was broken into three pieces,” said Yudo Margono, Navy Chief of Staff.
An anchor, fluorescent orange safety suits for emergencies and more parts were retrieved according to the authorities.
They discovered the missing submarine the day after the navy had declared that it sunk, which ended any chance of finding survivors.
A bottle of grease used to lubricate periscopes, a piece of torpedo system and a prayer mat which is commonly used in a Muslim-majority nation like Indonesia were among the earlier items that have been recovered.
Hoping for a miracle, hundreds of military personnel on warships and planes had searched for the submarine that had gone missing last week during a training exercise. Rescuers were praying for the onboard people in the submarine for they knew that the oxygen reserves might run out.
Hadi Tjahjanto, Indonesian military head, said on Sunday that there was no chance of finding any of the crew alive.
“With deep sadness, I can say that all 53 personnel onboard have passed,” Tjahjanto said. “We received underwater pictures that are confirmed as the parts of the submarine, including its rear vertical rudder, anchors, outer pressure body, embossed dive rudder and other ship parts.”
“With this authentic evidence, we can declare that KRI Nanggala 402 has sunk and all the crew members are dead.”
Much deeper than its collapse depth of 655ft, the navy previously said that the submarine sank to a depth of 2,000-2,300ft at which point water pressure would be greater than the hull could withstand.
Using a multi-beam sonar and a magnetometer, the Indonesian vessel KRI Rigel had scanned the area where the submarine was believed to have sunk while underwater images were provided by Singaporean vessel MV Swift Rescue, an underwater robot equipped with a camera, Tjahjanto said.
It is still uncertain what caused the disappearance of the submarine. However, according to the navy, it could be because of an electrical failure that left the submarine unable to execute emergency procedures to resurface.
20 Indonesian ships, 4 Indonesian aircraft, a sonar-equipped Australian warship and aP-8 Poseidon American reconnaissance plane had been set to join the search.
Indonesian Defence Ministry said that since 1981, the German-built diesel-powered KRI Nangala 402 had been in service to Indonesia and carries 49 crew members and 3 gunners with its commander.
The world’s largest archipelago nation with more than 17,000 islands, Indonesia, has been facing challenges in recent years regarding maritime claims just like in Natuna island where numerous incidents involving Chinese vessels happened.
Muhammad Imam Adi, 29, a father of a young son is one of the people who’s onboard the submarine. “My wish now is that my son and all the crew can be found,” Edy Sujianto, Adi’s father said.
“My son had wanted to become a soldier since he was a child,” Adi said. “That was his dream.”
Indonesia’s “best patriots’ is how President Joko Widodo described the sailors.
“All Indonesians convey their deep sadness over this incident, especially to the families of the submarine crew,” Widodo said.
The submarine may have suffered a blackout that left its crew unable to resurface, the authorities also added that the evidence suggested that the submarine came apart as it was crushed by massive water pressure in the vast depths.
“Submarine hulls are pressurised, but when they’re breached then water would come flooding inside,” said Wisnu Wardhana, Indonesia’s Sepuluh Nopember Institute of Technology maritime expert. “Can you imagine if water with that kind of pressure hits people?”
“Like a folding accordion,” said retired French vice-admiral Jean-Louis Vichot to AFP when asked to describe if a submarine’s hull collapses and hits depths way beyond its limits.
Margin also said that any salvage operation would be risky and difficult.
“We’ll discuss it to make a decision on how to lift the submarine in this condition” he added.
Nations were helping in the hunt including the United States, India, Australia and Malaysia.
To scour a zone of about 10 square nautical miles (34 square kilometres), search vessels, reconnaissance aircraft and submarine rescue ships had been deployed.
The submarine- was seaworthy and delivered to Indonesia in 1981, the military said. Dozens of navies around the world have been using this model but the Indonesian submarine’s age could be a potential factor in why it happened, analysts and investigators have said.
The submarine was scheduled to do live torpedo training exercises off Bali until it disappeared.
The search team pointed to possible fuel-tank damage, they have discovered an oil spill where the vessel was thought to have submerged, a catastrophic accident. The submarine is one of five in Indonesia’s fleet.
Hundreds of metres beyond its diving range, the vessel was found in three pieces at the bottom of the Bali sea. Prime Minister Scott Morrison contacted Indonesian President Jako Widodo after the location of vessels were confirmed.
“Deepest sympathies to President Jokiwi and all our Indonesian friends on the loss of KRI Nanggala,” Morrison said. “A tragic reminder of the ultimate sacrifice our service people make for their country. “
“It was an honour to contribute to search efforts. Australia stands by you in your time of loss.”
Dozens of Australian helicopters and ships equipped with sonar systems were involved in an international search for the vessel.
The location of the vessel and confirmation of all 53 perished people onboard marks that the search for the missing submarine has ended.