Dependents Cruise From Hell
The Indian frigate INS Vindhyagiri (F42) apparently sank at the pier after colliding with a cargo ship while returning to port in Mumbai after a dependents cruise. From Times of India:
The 29-year-old Vindhyagiri and 17-year-old Nordlake collided in Mumbai harbour at around 4.45pm on Sunday, when the warship was returning from 'A Day At Sea' with around 400 navy personnel and their families. An escort had been guiding the Nordlake, a container vessel, through the harbour to reach open sea at the time. It was the fourth major collision in the harbour since March 23, 2010, sparking concerns about the safety of the navigational path.Have you ever had a scary encounter with a merchant?
Later on Sunday, a fire began in the engine room of the 3,000-tonne Vindhyagiri and spread. The warship was taken to the Naval Dockyard and evacuated, while the blaze was brought under control by firefighters of the Naval Dockyard, Mumbai Port Trust and Mumbai fire brigade by 3.45 pm on Monday. Mumbai fire brigade officials said naval personnel underestimated the fire and informed them too late.
Naval officials blamed the Nordlakes crew and said a third ship was also part of the confusion that led to the crash.
Vice-Admiral Sanjeev Bhasin, commander-in-chief of the Western Naval Command, told TOI on Monday, "We have investigated and it is clear that the Nordlakes crew is to blame. Vindhyagiri was returning from the sea with another vessel, MV Sea Eagle, when Nordlake was leaving the harbour. There was immense confusion between the crew of the Nordlake and the Sea Eagle. Finally the crew of the Nordlake panicked and turned the ship, ramming it the engine room and boiler of the Vindhyagiri, which was travelling at low speed. Her fuel tank also ruptured due to the impact.
Bhasin said records of communication between the Nordlake and Sea Eagle show the confusion. "The two ships first wanted to pass to the left of each other. A few minutes later, they decided to pass to the right of each other. Again a decision was taken to pass to the left of each other. As they came closer, the Nordlake crew panicked and turned right. As a result, the ship rammed into the INS Vindhyagiri.