India’s very own submarine ‘graveyard’ lies undisturbed off Vizag

Wreckages of two submarines lie very near India’s the east coast

submarine_story The onboard sensor control chamber | Sanjay Ahlawat

With deep inlets from the sea with average depths of about 16 metres allowing anchorage of sea-faring ships, very few port cities have been so naturally endowed as Vishakhapatnam. The water depth also allows submarines to operate very close to the coast.

That was the reason why the ill-fated Pakistani Navy submarine PNS Ghazi had decided to prowl close to the Vishakhapatnam coast during the 1971 war with India.

Given on lease by the United States, the Ghazi was Pakistan’s flagship submarine of that time, till it mysteriously sank in December 1971 off the Vishakhapatnam coast with all 93 personnel onboard.

While the Indian version claims that its INS Rajput sank the Ghazi, Pakistan blames it on an internal explosion and the mines that were floated to guard the Vishakhapatnam port.

submarine_graveyard One of the Navy sensors that were used to locate the undersea wreckage of the sunk Pakistan submarine | Sanjay Ahlawat

It is not just the PNS Ghazi that lies on the seabed near the port city. The wreckage of a Japanese submarine RO-110 also lies on the seafloor for the last 80 years that was sunk by depth charges of the Royal Indian Navy’s HMIS Jumna and the Australian Navy’s Ipswich.

The wreckage—a few nautical miles from the coast—has also been examined closely by Indian Navy’s Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV).

"We have located the Ghazi but we do not touch it in deference and out of respect for those fallen in true traditions of the Indian Navy," a senior official told THE WEEK.

It is only in 2018 that India acquired the capability to operate DSRVs to locate sunk vessels and submarines and accordingly undertake rescue operations if the need so arises.

India now operates two such DSRVs—one each for the eastern and western seaboards—that can be either ship-mounted or air-transportable.

Of the about 40 countries across the world that operate submarines, only six nations have developed the capability to deploy a DSRV.

Join our WhatsApp Channel to get the latest news, exclusives and videos on WhatsApp