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Overall study needed on navy accidents: Former navy chief

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former navy chief Arun PrakashIn the wake of a series of accidents suffered by the Indian Navy, former navy chief Arun Prakash Sunday said a study should be done to find out if something is wrong with the force.

Talking to IANS, Admiral (retd) Prakash said that while many of the accidents were minor, a larger study is needed to see if there is something wrong with one of the aspects.

“Accidents are not supposed to happen… The navy should conduct a larger inquiry or study and find if something is wrong. Is there a fault with the maintenance, training of personnel or some other aspect of the service,” he said.

He, however, said that most of the accidents that have been highlighted do not have anyone at fault, and pointed the accidents on the two submarines – Sindhuratna and Sindhurakshak – as the two most serious ones.

Submarine Sindhurakshak met an accident Aug 14, 2013, when blasts ripped thorough the boat killing three officers and 15 sailors. The submarine was berthed in Mumbai harbour.

Submarine Sindhuratna met with an accident Feb 26 when a fire onboard resulted in the death of two sailors while seven members of the 94-strong crew had to evacuated after they inhaled smoke.

A board of inquiry, in its preliminary report, said a fire in some cables led to the smoke in the third compartment.

Prakash agreed that these accidents had an adverse impact on the morale of the force.

He, however, downplayed the accident on INS Kolkata and the one on the Arihant class submarine earlier this week, saying the two boats were not yet with the navy.

“The last two accidents have nothing to do with the navy. There is no magic for stopping accidents, there will be human or mechanical errors. But yes, the series of accidents is unfortunate,” the admiral added.

An accident Saturday resulted in the death of a civilian worker when a tank lid fell on the workers as pressure of the hydraulic tank of the Arihant class submarine was being tested in Vizag.

Earlier, an officer was killed and a worker injured Friday after inhaling carbon dioxide gas which leaked from a container on an advanced warship, INS Kolkata, being outfitted at a dock in Mumbai.

A scholar from Mumbai-based think tank Indian Council on Global Relations, meanwhile, said the accidents raised questions on safety standards being followed by the navy.

“Coming on the heels of the string of naval accidents, the incident at Visakhapatnam indeed raises questions on the safety standards being followed at the government-owned shipyards,” said Sameer Patil, an associate national security fellow.

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