For four days the island nation of Indonesia prayed for 53 seamen – missing on a submarine “made in Germany”. Women desperately hoped for a sign of life from their husbands. President Joko Widodo (59) started a huge search operation with international help.
But: all for free!
The submarine “KRI Nanggala-402” sank off the coast of Bali, all 53 seamen are dead. Widodo brought this terrible message to the 270 million inhabitants of the Southeast Asian country on Sunday. He expressed his condolences to the members of the crew.
How it came to the accident – up to now unclear.
The worst fears came true: The submarine was located at a depth of 850 meters, although it can only dive a maximum of 500 meters. And six parts from the interior of the ship were found floating in the sea – including a lubricant bottle for the periscope and a torpedo hull. All of this indicates that the ship broke apart and was probably crushed by the masses of water as it sank into the depths.
The 402 comes from Kiel
The submarine was built from 1978 to 1981 in the Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft in Kiel, which today belongs to ThyssenKrupp and has 3,600 employees. Indonesia bought the ship and named it “KRI Nanggala 402”: Nanggala is the name of the spear of an important Hindu god.
Submarine expert Raimund Wallner (71) on BILD am SONNTAG: “The ship cost around 150 million marks back then, today the price would be half a billion euros.” The submarine was last serviced in 1988 in Kiel, since then in South Korea. The Bundeswehr did not use submarines of this type (class: 209, 1300 ton displacement) because Germany was not allowed to operate such large ships after the Second World War. Today 60 of these submarines are in service for 14 countries.
The accident of submarine 402 awakens terrible memories of the sinking of the Russian “Kursk” (August 2000, 118 dead) and the dramatic search for the Argentine “ARA San Juan” in the Atlantic (November 2017, 44 dead).
How did the submarine drama off Bali come about? The protocol:
The 60 meter long submarine – built from 1978 to 1981 in Kiel (Schleswig-Holstein) – will set sail in the port city of Surabaya on Wednesday. It takes part in an attack maneuver. On board are: 53 people (49 seamen, three gunners and the commander), although the ship is only approved for 34. Why the overcrowding? Not clear.
Wednesday, 3.46 a.m. (local time): The submarine is located 95 kilometers north of Bali, prepares to fire a torpedo and is ordered to dive. Radio contact suddenly breaks off, a military spokesman reported later.
Wednesday, 4.25 a.m .: The submarine receives an order by radio to shoot the torpedo – but no longer reacts. The exercise is stopped immediately.
Wednesday, 7 a.m .: Helicopters discover 40 kilometers off the coast of Bali
Oil stains on the ocean – where the submarine was last submerged. The military also notes “a great magnetic force” underwater. The whole of Indonesia is hoping: the ship is still intact and can soon be salvaged.
A huge search is under way. 21 warships and civilian boats with sonar technology are being phased out. Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and India also send ships.
Thursday: Ships search the sea and listen into it. Time’s running! If the submarine is still functional, the 53 people on board will only have enough oxygen until Saturday morning.
Friday, 6 a.m .: The situation is becoming more and more dramatic: President Joko Widodo calls on the population to pray for the seafarers. The Jakarta Post newspaper headlined: “Save Our Seafarers”.
Saturday, 4 p.m .: All hope was in vain. Navy chief Yudo Margono brings the terrible message to an entire nation: “The ‘KRI Nanggala-402 has sunk.”
Sunday, 8 a.m .: Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo declares the total loss of the boat. All the men on board are dead.
How it came about, what exactly happened after the radio contact was broken off, may never be clarified. The former German submarine commander and head of department in the Defense Ministry Raimund Wallner (71) on BILD am SONNTAG: “When the ship sank to a depth of 850 meters, it was crushed within a few seconds. Then nothing was left of it that could help to clear up the accident. “
Indonesia is left with endless sadness. Women lost their husbands, children lost their fathers, parents lost their sons. The country is in shock.
Captain Weber trained the first crew of the 402
Frigate Captain a. D. Jürgen Weber is a former submarine commander of the German Navy (on U 23 and U 10).
He followed the fate of the sunken submarine 402 very closely, because in 1980 he had trained the Indonesian first crew of the “KRI Nanggala 402” on the similar marine boat U 28.
Weber: “My thoughts went back a good 40 years. At the time, we were training Indonesian submarine drivers on behalf of the submarine training group in Neustadt / Holstein. I thought of the nice, willing and humorous comrades of the first crew.
In the past few days, the fact that I had come to know the Indonesians as responsible seafarers gave me hope. Then yesterday morning, brains and reality had won again: The discovery of a bottle with lubricant for the periscope and a torpedo cover at the suspected accident site was announced. So it was clear that our comrades’ dive trip was also their last trip.
On behalf of the German submarine drivers, I can assure you that our thoughts are with the grieving relatives and the naval and especially the submarine comrades. “
Memory of the Kursk
The Russian nuclear submarine “Kursk” had an accident on August 12, 2000 during a maneuver in the Barents Sea.
It was badly damaged when a broken torpedo exploded. 118 sailors were on board, 23 initially survived but could not be rescued. President Vladimir Putin has long refused foreign aid for “reasons of secrecy”. In 2001 the wreck was recovered.
In November 2017, the Argentine submarine “ARA San Juan” disappeared in the South Atlantic. 44 seamen were pronounced dead. The ship from the Nordseewerke shipyard in Emden (Lower Saxony) was searched for a year, then discovered at a depth of 900 meters off the coast of Argentina. It is there to this day.
That love died in the submarine
Mita Sofia is one of the many women who have feared for her husband’s life since Wednesday. She posted a wedding photo on social media with a wonderful wedding dress on it, and her husband in his uniform. Mita Sofia asked everyone to pray for the 53 sailors on the missing submarine. But: She was bitterly disappointed when the news of the death of the crew came.
Many of the seafarer’s families openly expressed their feelings. The media told the sad story of the seaman Serda Ede Pandu Yudha, who boarded the submarine three days after his wedding. And the story of the boy Azka, who locked his father in his room shortly before he left the house – as if he had suspected something bad was going to happen.