Jakarta, Jun 2 (EFE).- Indonesia announced on Wednesday that it had called off efforts to salvage the submarine that sank off the coast of Bali in April with 53 crew members onboard, whose bodies could not be recovered.
In a statement thanking the Chinese navy for offering three vessels to help the effort, the Indonesian navy said that the operation to salvage the submarine, which had sunk to a depth of over 800 meters, had been a “difficult” and “very risky” job.
However, the statement did not specify the exact reasons for stopping the salvage efforts.
In a month-long operation, navy teams have descended to the level of the sunken submarine over 20 times and recovered “important material,” but the discontinuation of the efforts to salvage the boat out of the sea has ended the hopes of recovering the corpses of the 53 sailors who are thought to be trapped inside the hull.
The material recovered from the vessel includes the hydrophone, a part of the boat that can help ascertain the reasons behind the accident.
The Nanggala-402 submarine suffered a fatal accident on Apr. 21 while taking part in military exercises.
The vessel was later located split into three parts at a depth of 829 meters, north of the island of Bali.
The Cakra-class model was made in Germany in 1978 and delivered to Indonesia three years later, eventually being refurbished in 2012.
On Apr. 21, it had disappeared about 40 minutes after submerging at dawn during a military maneuver.
The vessel was located five days after the accident by a Singaporean submarine that participated in the extensive search for the missing vessel and in which Australia, India and the United States were also involved.
Indonesia ruled out the accident was caused by human error and said the submarine may have begun to crack when it was between 400 and 500 meters below sea, about twice the depth of its diving capacity, after being swept away by an underwater current.
President Joko Widodo has promised to construct new houses for the families of the 53 deceased sailors, who will also be given posthumous promotions.EFE