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After Sindhuratna, gas leak on Navy destroyer in Mumbai kills one

New Delhi: Just weeks after a fire on board submarine Sindhuratna killed two Navy officers, another officer was killed in a gas leak on board India’s most advanced destroyer ship, the INS Kolkata.

The officer of the rank of commander reportedly inhaled a large amount of the toxic gas and was hospitalised along with several other injured personnel on board the warship.

INS Kolkata is still under construction at Mumbai’s Mazgaon dockyard and was due to be commissioned this month.

The Navy said in a statement, “(INS Kolkata) being built by Mazgaon Dockyard Limited (MDL), while undergoing machinery trials, had a malfunction in its Carbon Dioxide unit, leading to gas leakage. One naval officer and some MDL personnel were affected and have been hospitalised.”

The incident comes on a day when the Navy said that human error led to the fire on board the Sindhuratna. The Navy’s probe report mentioned “deviation from standard operating procedure”. Sindhuratna was one of the Indian Navy’s ageing submarine fleet.

The incident forced Admiral DK Joshi to resign as Navy Chief as it was the latest in a series of incidents involving India’s warships.

11 Naval mishaps in last eight months

INS Kolkata (March 2014): Gas leak inside an under construction destroyer of Indian Navy. It is undergoing trials at Mazagaon dockyard in Mumbai. One naval officer dead.

INS Sindhuratna (February 2014): Just seven months after a fire on INS Sindhurakshak killed 18 Navy men, two officers lost their lives and seven were seriously injured in a mishap involving the Russian-origin Kilo Class submarine INS Sindhuratna. Navy Chief Admiral DK Joshi resigned taking moral responsibility.

INS Airavat (February 2014): Amphibious ship INS Airavat, the latest of the Shardul class of tank-landing ships, ran aground off the coast of Visakhapatnam. The propellers of the warship were permanently damaged and had to be replaced for the vessel to become operational again.

INS Betwa (January 2014): An indigenously built naval frigate, the Betwa ran aground and collided with an unidentified object while approaching the Mumbai naval base. The sonar system of the frigate was cracked, leading to faulty readings and ingress of saltwater into sensitive equipment.

INS Vipul (January 2014): A member of the elite 22nd Killer Missile Vessel Squadron of the Navy, the ship was detected with a hole in its pillar compartment which forced the ship back into the harbour while it was on an operational deployment. It had to be sent back for repair.

INS Sindhughosh (January 2014): The leading ship of her class of diesel-electric submarines of the Indian Navy, the Sindhughosh ran aground at the naval harbour in Mumbai. The submarine was freed later and did not suffer much damage. At the time of the incident, it was fully armed, carrying its entire compliment of 70 personnel, all of whom were safe.

INS Konkan (December 2013): A mine sweeper under the Eastern Naval Command, the Konkan caught fire at the naval dockyard at Visakhapatnam while undergoing repairs. The fire engulfed much of the ship’s interior before it was put off.

INS Talwar (December 2013): A fishing trawler sank after colliding with the navy’s frontline frigate INS Talwar near Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra, injuring four of the 27 people onboard the trawler. The fishing trawler was operating without lights.

INS Tarkash (December 2013): A stealth frigate which conducted several overseas missions, INS Tarkash suffered damage to its hull when it hit the jetty while docking at the Mumbai naval base.

INS Viraat (September 2013): Fire broke out near the officer’s mess of the aircraft carrier off the coast of Mumbai in September last year.

INS Sindhurakshak (August 2013): Blasts ripped through the torpedo compartment of the INS Sindhurakshak while it was berthed at the naval dockyard off the Mumbai coast. Fifteen sailors and three officers were killed. The vessel then submerged under three metres of water. Divers could not even approach the submarine for two to three hours due to the extreme heat that it was generating.

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