Update: Search and recovery forces have found an oil spill at the approximate coordinates the Indonesian submarine was last seen. It is now a race against time, as the submarine has oxygen for about 65 more hours. Rescue efforts have intensified with more countries coming to the help of Indonesia, including India, which is contributing a Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel.
An Indonesian attack submarine has gone missing during an exercise in the Bali Sea.
The KRI Nanggala-402 with 53 souls on board failed to report back during a pre-planned communications window, and the Indonesian armed forces have since been unsuccessful in making contact with the submarine.
According to Indonesian First Admiral Julius Widjojono, the vessel went missing at 0300 on Wednesday approximately 60 miles off the coast of the province of Bali. Contact was lost when the submarine was sailing in deep water, something that will complicate rescue attempts. The KRI Nanggala was conducting torpedo drills.
The Indonesian armed forces have asked their Australian and Singaporean partners for assistance. The Singaporean Navy has deployed the MV Shift Rescue, a submarine support and rescue vessel that specializes in deep-sea rescue and recovery operations.
The missing Indonesian submarine brings haunting memories of the ARA San Juan. The Argentinian submarine had gone missing with all hands during a routine passage in 2017. Feverish attempts by an international task force, which included U.S. vessels and aircraft, to locate the submarine failed. One year later, ARA San Juan was discovered at the bottom of the sea; all 44 sailors had perished.
The Indonesian Navy operates five submarines. Built and commissioned in the late 1970s in Germany, the KRI Nanggala-402 has been in service with the Indonesian Navy for over 40 years. In 2012, it had gone through a two-year refit in South Korea. KRI Nanggala-402 is a Type 209 diesel-electric submarine.