In the worst ever peacetime loss for the Indian Navy, the heavily armed frigate INS Vindhyagiri went down in the Mumbai harbour after colliding with a merchant vessel. The 3,000 tonne warship, designed to take on enemy submarines and surface ships, sank Monday afternoon after catching fire after the collision with a Cyprus-flag container carrier, M V Nordlake 24 hours earlier.
The loss of the frigate — sources said a salvage would be difficult as the warship has touched bottom — sent shock waves through the naval community. Commentators said the incident was “ignominious” and had dented the Navy’s image.
The Leander class frigate, commissioned in 1981, hit the merchant vessel near the Sunkrock lighthouse within the pilotage area of the channel at 4.36 pm on Sunday, as it was entering the harbour after a ‘day at sea’ for families of sailors and officers. No one was hurt in the mishap.