UPDATE 27 April 2021: Since this story was written, Indonesian authorities have confirmed the submarine has sunk with the loss of 53 persons. An underwater robot showed the submarine broken into three pieces at 838 metres depth, 588 metres below its designed operating depth of 250 metres.
The cause of the accident remains unknown, but Indonesian authorities said the submarine was conducting torpedo drills when it went missing.
Indonesia has accepted Australia’s offer to help search for missing submarine KRI Nanggala (402).
CAPTION: HMAS Ballarat uses a rigid-hulled inflatable boat to search for the missing Indonesian submarine KRI Nanggala. Photo by Leading Seaman Ernesto Sanchez.
HMA Ships Ballarat and Sirius, both at sea on separate regional deployments, are making speed for the search area.
Ballarat, equipped with sonar capabilities and an embarked MH-60R helicopter, is expected to be in the search area today after transiting the Lombok Strait.
The support ship, Sirius, which was off the coast of Brunei, is expected to be in the search area about April 27.
Communication was lost with the KRI Nanggala (402) while participating in a training exercise. The submarine’s last known location was about 100 kilometres north of Bali on Wednesday. She has a crew of 53 on board.
Commander Joint Task Force 635 Rear Admiral Mark Hammond said the ADF stood with its neighbour at this distressing time.
“My thoughts are with the submariners of KRI Nanggala, their families and the Indonesian people. As always, we stand ready to assist our fellow mariners in the Indonesian Navy,” Rear Admiral Hammond said.
“These two Australian ships will help expand the search area and extend the duration of the search effort.”
Defence remains in close contact with Indonesia to determine if Australia can provide further assistance.