Scott Morrison Extends Condolences to Indonesia Over Lost Submarine Crew

April 25, 2021 Updated: April 25, 2021

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has extended his deepest sympathies to Indonesia after the Indonesian authorities confirmed the loss of submarine KRI Nanggala and its 53 person crew.

In a post on Twitter on April 25, Morrison conveyed his deepest sympathies to President Joko Widodo and “all our Indonesian friends” on the loss of the sub.

“A tragic reminder of the ultimate sacrifice our service people make for their country. It was an honour to contribute to search efforts. Australia stands by you in your time of loss,” Morrison said.

The Indonesian vessel was found at the bottom of the Bali Sea, in three pieces. Its resting location was hundreds of metres beyond its diving range. The Indonesian authorities have said all of the crew died, including experienced submarine fleet commander Harry Setiawan.

Indonesian Navy submarine KRI Nanggala
Indonesian Navy submarine KRI Nanggala sails in the waters off Tuban, East Java, Indonesia, on Oct. 6, 2014. (Eric Ireng/AP Photo)

The submarine—which was 44 years old and had been upgraded in 2012—was in the process of conducting a torpedo drill and had been given clearance to dive, meaning it could have sunk to a depth of between 600 and 800 metres.

The chief of the Indonesian military, Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto, told a press conference late on Sunday evening that search equipment from Singapore had captured photos of the wreck, which showed the rear vertical steering wheel, anchor, and a safety suit that had been taken out of its box “as though it was about the be worn,” report The Australian.

“Due to that, with great sadness, as military commander I declare the 53 crew members of Nanggala are dead. The best soldiers have died while carrying out their duties in waters north of Bali,” Tjahjanto said. “On behalf of the entire military family, I convey my deepest condolences to the families of the fallen soldiers.”

According to the Indonesia military commander, all those on board would also receive a posthumous military honour for their service.

The news of the sub-maritime disaster comes after an Australian frigate equipped with sonar systems and a submarine-hunting helicopter joined with the United States, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, and India in the search area in Indonesian waters on Friday.

The BBC reported on April 26 that President Joko Widodo had called the crew of the submarine Indonesia’s “best patriots,” and added: “All Indonesians convey their deep sadness over this incident, especially to the families of the submarine crew.”

AAP contributed to the article.