What happened to the missing Indonesian submarine?

A week ago, the intensive search of the missing KRI Nanggala submarine began, only to be discovered days after at a depth of at least 850 meters (2,800 feet) in the Bali Sea. No survivors, 53 crew members dead and a sunken submarine in three pieces.


The German-built submarine, KRI Nanggala had been in service since 1981 in the Indonesian navy and refitted in South Korea in 2021.

The submarine went missing on the morning of April 21st at the coast of Bali causing international solidarity, where India, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, the U.S and other countries were quick to assist with the search. At least 25 Indonesian ships were involved in the search.

The tragic announcement was transmitted April 24th. No survivors from the 53-person crew were found and no certain cause of the disaster has been confirmed by the Indonesian Navy.

Based on visual images and video footage obtained by a remotely operated underwater robot, it has been confirmed that the submarine was found at a depth of 850 meters. The submarine was divided in three parts, the hull of the submarine, the stern of the submarine, and the main parts all separated, with the main part found cracked. The Indonesian navy stated that, the submarine sank in a depth much deeper than its collapse depth of 250 meters (820 feet), a point where water pressure would be greater than the hull could withstand.

Indonesian authorities hope to rescue Nanggala’s wreckage, but the rarity of recovering 1,300 tonnes of metal from a depth of 800 meters remains a hard and expensive operation.

The America’s Navy transmitted the following statement from CNO Mike Gilday:

I am deeply saddened to learn the Indonesian submarine lost at sea earlier this week is now believed sunk. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Indonesian Navy, their Sailors and all those families who lost loved ones.

As Sailors, we share a love for the sea and have a bond of fellowship with all who sail on it. We have a respect for its dangers and also understand the importance of the worlds’ oceans to our collective way of life.

No doubt, Indonesia is a good friend and partner. Despite this tragic loss, it is my hope that we will continue to operate together in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific”.

MARPRO offers condolences

The personnel at MARPRO wish to offer our sincere condolences. We grieve together with the people of Indonesia and the Indonesian navy; our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the 53 crew members as they cope with this tragedy. As maritime professionals, we are deeply saddened to learn of this cruel and shocking tragedy. May they rest in peace.

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