An Indian Navy minesweeper caught fire while undergoing a refit. (Indian Navy)
NEW DELHI — After a front-line Russian made Kilo-class submarine of the Indian Navy went down in an August fire, a Russian-made minesweeper, INS Konkan, caught fire Dec. 4, at the Naval base of Vishakhapatnam.
Indian Navy sources said the fire began in the engine room while the ship was undergoing refit at a dock. There were no causalities, unlike the submarine fire when 18 sailors died.
Most of the sailors of the minesweeper were celebrating Navy Day outside the ship.
The midlife refit of the minesweeper included replacement of the sonar suite and combat suit.
Konkan is a Pondicherry-class minesweeper built for the Indian Navy by the Soviet Union and the 891-ton warship was inducted into the Indian Navy in 1988.
No Navy official would comment on the cause of the fire, but sources said it is suspected that certain practices were not followed by the contractor agency involved in the refit of the minesweeper.
The Navy has lost three warships since its independence in August 1947, include INS Khukri, a missile corvette, during the 1971 war with Pakistan; the INS Andaman anti-submarine warfare corvette in 1990, and the INS Prahar missile boat in 2006.
The Navy has yet to admit the submarine, INS Sindhurakshak, which went down after the August fire, is a total loss.