INS Sindhurakshak yet to become fully salvaged
First step of the salvage process has been completed as it is now floating at the naval dockyard in Mumbai, where it was moored, with half of it being visible to the naked eye.
The next step will be to tow it to the dry-dock now by the Indian subsidiary of an US-based salvage firm, Resolve Marine Group. At the dry dock, some of the external damages to the submarine, like holes in its superstructure, will be patched up.
Again at the dry dock, it will be placed on pontoons and then the dock flooded enough for it to fully come up. The pontoon lift will raise it to the surface level of the water, where the basic repair will be undertaken. At this point the salvage firm will hand over the submarine to the Indian Navy.
And then the second board of inquiry will be held to measure the extent of damage, and whether Sindhurakshak can be recovered. A lot of money was spent to refit and refurbish the submersible in Russia. At a cost of $ 80 million, it was given a life-extension.
In fact, the major damage the fire on it caused had also focussed public attention on this aspect. Then defence minister, AK Antony had even mentioned in one of his speeches urging the navy to be careful.
But instead, this accident almost heralded a series of accidents on board another sub, Sindhughosh¸ besides other surface vessels, which eventually led to the resignation of the navy chief, Admiral DK Joshi, thus creating a succession imbroglio within the service.
While it costed the job for Joshi, it put a sharp media spotlight on the fleet maintenance and safety standards of the navy. This has remained unresolved still.