BANYUWANGI, Indonesia – The Indonesian Navy said Saturday that their missing submarine sank and broke into after finding items from the ship for the past two days.
Military chief Hadi Tjahjanto said the presence of an oil spill as well as debris near where the submarine dived off the island of Bali on Wednesday is clear evidence that the KRI Nanggala 402 has sunk. Indonesian officials previously considered the ship just missing but said the submarine’s oxygen supply was depleted early Saturday.
Marine chief Yudo Margono said at a press conference in Bali: “If it’s an explosion, it will be torn to pieces. The cracks appeared gradually in some places as they dropped from 300 meters to 400 meters to 500 meters. … If there was an explosion, the sonar would hear it. “
The Navy previously said it believed the submarine sank to a depth of 600 to 700 meters, much deeper than its 200 meter collapse depth. At this point, the water pressure would be higher than the hull could withstand.
“With the authentic evidence that we believed came from the submarine, we have now moved from the ‘Sub Miss’ phase to ‘Sub Sunk’,” Margono said at the press conference where the found items were on display were.
The cause of the disappearance was still uncertain. The Navy had previously said an electrical failure might not have allowed the submarine to take emergency measures to resurface.
Margono said the searchers found parts of a torpedo straightening iron, a grease bottle used to oil the periscope, debris from prayer rugs and a broken piece from a coolant tube being refitted on the submarine in South Korea in the past two days was launched in 2012.
Margono said rescue teams from Indonesia and other countries would evaluate the results. He said no bodies had been found so far.
An American reconnaissance aircraft, a P-8 Poseidon, landed early Saturday to join the search, along with 20 Indonesian ships, a sonar-equipped Australian warship and four Indonesian aircraft.
Singaporean rescue ships were also expected on Saturday, while Malaysian rescue ships were due to arrive on Sunday to step up underwater hunting, officials said earlier Saturday.
Family members had hoped for survivors, but there were no signs of life from the ship. Indonesian President Joko Widodo had made every effort to locate the submarine and asked the Indonesians to pray for the crew to return safely.
The diesel-powered KRI Nanggala 402 built in Germany had been in use in Indonesia since 1981 and carried 49 crew members and three gunners as well as its commanders, announced the Indonesian Ministry of Defense.
Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago nation with more than 17,000 islands, has faced increasing challenges to its maritime claims in recent years, including numerous incidents involving Chinese ships near the Natuna Islands.
Tarigan reported from Jakarta, Indonesia. Associate Press Writer Eileen Ng from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia contributed to this report.