Warship collides with SCI vessel off Mumbai coast

The Indian Navy's run with accidents continues with yet another collision of a warship with a Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) merchant vessel on Monday night, 30 nautical miles off the Mumbai coast. The fourth accident at sea in the last 10 months alone and the third collision, a board of inquiry in Mumbai has been ordered to investigate it.

The Niligiri-class frigate INS Dunagiri (pennant number F-36 of the 14th Frigate Squadron in Mumbai), on its return course from the Defence of Gujarat joint exercise with the air force that ended ahead of schedule because of a cyclone warning, received a knock by the merchant vessel MV Kiti, which was en route to the port of Colombo, after it apparently misread the latter's navigational line. The incident, which has left the warship's bow damaged, happened on the busy fishing lanes off Mumbai. The Dunagiri has now been dry-docked for repairs.

Cdr Atul Nag, the ship's commanding officer, is currently being questioned.

Confirming the incident to The Indian Express, the navy said, "The two ships suffered a glancing blow, after they brushed against each other. There has been no major damage or injury to anyone. The warship was maneuvering to avoid fishing boats in the vicinity. The merchant vessel has proceeded on its course to Colombo."

The Dunagiri accident follows the sinking of INS Prahar, a missile corvette that sank after it was rammed by merchant vessel MV Rajiv Gandhi in April off the coast of Goa, an accident the navy is still coming to terms with. In December last year, stealth frigate INS Trishul was severely damaged after a collision with another merchant vessel MV Ambuja Laxmi outside the Mumbai harbour.

In May this year, stealth frigate INS Talwar accidentally dropped its anchor on its own anti-submarine sonardome and had to be rushed for repairs to revive its anti-sub capabilities.

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