A file photo of the Indonesian navy’s KRI Nanggala-402 submarine, which has disappeared.

Photo:

indonesian navy/EPA/Shutterstock

April 21, 2021 11:54 am ET

SINGAPORE—A search is under way for an Indonesian navy submarine with 53 people on board that went missing in the waters off the island of Bali and may have lost control during a dive, the Indonesian navy said.

The KRI Nanggala-402, a German-built vessel brought into service in 1981, was conducting a torpedo drill and requested permission to dive at 3 a.m. Wednesday. Shortly after permission was granted, the submarine lost contact and couldn’t be reached again, the navy said.

The submarine may have lost control and descended to 600 or 700 meters, the navy said. Oil spills around the area suggested the possibility of fuel tank damage due to water pressure, it said.

Indonesian naval vessels with sonar capability looked for the submarine but were unsuccessful. The navies of Singapore and Australia answered a call for assistance with the search.

A rescue ship, MV SWIFT, was dispatched from Singapore, said

Hadi Tjahjanto,

Indonesia’s military chief. The ship is equipped with a submersible rescue vessel that can slip underwater, connect with a submarine and ferry crew to safety, according to information on Singapore’s defense ministry website.

The Indonesian government is in the process of modernizing its navy and received a new submarine, Alugoro-405, last month.

Write to Jon Emont at [email protected]

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Appeared in the April 22, 2021, print edition as ‘Indonesian Sub With 53 Aboard Is Missing.’