An alive Individual only can take corrective Damage Control Action, who by virtue of oxygen being provided chemically by the isolated breathing unit, is thus capacitated to take mandated actions of damage control. In the past, Airlines used to teach the passengers how to put on the 'ventilator mask' on a child sitting next and then on self .
Now they have realised that 20 second is too short a time for any average individual to force stop his own breathing, save others life first and then saving self. Thus they have changed the teaching guide line, wherein, they now ask passengers to firstly put on their own individual masks, before attempting to save anyone else life, be it ones own child.
The enclosed environment which exists on board an aircraft is identical to that existing on board a submarine. A small spark can create obnoxious gases to kill an individual. Can anyone from the submarine arm or the Navy tell me, have the administrators provided 100% "PDU" in each and every conventional EKM & SSK. And are they changed after expiry of stored life.
Are the Standard Operating Procedures in place, which demand that each & every sailor and officer carry on his own personal PDU all the time, and that on sounding/observation of any emergency developing, all individuals must put on and switch on their personal PDU before attempting any Damage Control Exercise
If such an administrative provisioning of 100% PDU and SOP is ?not in place?, then the question needs to be answered "Why Not?" Nation will like to see some honesty on the part of those sitting in Naval Headquarters, Submarine Headquarters and Ministry of Defence, who are responsible for taking such decisions to answer the question truthfully. ?Denial of truth? one denies oneself the ?Right to improve?.
The men might have been marvellous and full of chivalry, which I personally know that each and every man worth his salt who calls himself a submariner is a very proud individual as he wears his death on those beautiful ?dolphins?, which he wears next to his heart. But, it will be out and out foolhardy, if such a provisioning of 100 % PDU has not been catered for. No one ought to have the right to play with precious lives of our brave hearts
Worst still are the news
appearing in mainline media saying 'Cable fire' started it all.
Oh My God, someone out there is trying to make a fool of whole
nation. Some others are saying 'about a battery leak having
started a fire'. Batteries always have an explosive mixture of
Hydrogen beneath the cell cap. The body of indigenously
developed batteries by M/s Standard Batteries is made of PVC
material unlike Russian submarine batteries which were made of hard
In the initial phase of development even static charge which the cell body was capable of generating and retaining had lead to few small mishaps. These were overcome by development of 'Explosion Proof Cell Caps' These batteries are also in use with Iranian Navy who also operate Russian supplied EKMs. The Batteries are time tested over last 25 years of safe operation.
Leaks from batteries can be only of electrolyte and those leaks can only be due to electrolyte spilling over. But at 1275 specific gravity, such spillages can only give birth to evolution of some gas fumes because of interaction of sulphuric acid with metal, but can not cause fire. Gas / fume generated because of electrolyte spillage will depend upon quantity of leak / spilling over of electrolyte. The spill over may also happen due to high electrolyte temperature increasing the volume of electrolyte. But that will depend upon over topping of battery cells with distilled water, in case cell were topped up more than required quantity.
Another reason can be excessive dissolved gas during end of charge within electrolyte. Chlorine gas may get evolved in case topping up of battery was done by salt water contaminated water. But that is ruled out as topping up is generally resorted to alongside in harbour.
Battery can only have an hydrogen explosion and not a fire. An air mixture containing Hydrogen >4% by volume is considered highly explosive. The evolved Hydrogen is kept under control by burning it inside Hydrogen burners, which takes place in the presence of heated catalyst. The Compartments which have Battery Pits have stand alone Hydrogen Burners, whereas the Battery Pit which is always kept isolated barring inspection visits, has its own hydrogen burning closed loop ventilating system.
Though Battery pits are opened up for ventilation by submarines Main Blowers while charging at snorting depth, during which time, some of the air from beneath the battery pits escapes into Battery Compartment increasing presence of Hydrogen inside compartments. Which in any case is running the stand alone Hydrogen burners.
Considering reports that the accident took place when submarine was dived at 6 AM, one can safely adduce that the Submarine must have charged its Batteries while snorting, which completed by 6 AM. The Hydrogen evolution is excessive towards end of charge. Some media quarters have given input that the submarine batteries were old and in the absence of sanction by Ministry of Defence to go in for time tested Standard Batteries as single vendor order, they were replaced with old batteries from INS Sindhurakshak which had only '11' months life left as per warranty.
Certainly, the staff in any case would have carried out Battery Capacity test when it was ashore alongside, before being put to sea post 6 months of repairs. Only > 80% capacity would have given the submarine full operational capability.
Notwithstanding, one needs to find out if the squadron staff had initiated any task such as Quick Dive immediately on completion of Battery Charging. If it was done, it also could be the culprit. Because the switching over of ventilation system to Battery autonomous closed loop system , which has limited capacity to burn hydrogen , can be done only after % of hydrogen inside the pit has come down to less than 2 %.
However being confident of competence of submariners , in my opinion, some loose gear in the form of metal part, such as, say a bolt or nut or even an inadvertent leaving behind of untapped spanner lying loose in the vicinity or left inside a battery breaker, has shorted the naked bus bars, on submarine developing high diving angle >15 degrees, during a Quick Dive initiated by Headquarters staff as part of exercise.
The President of India, who is also the Supreme Commander of Armed Forces, will do nation a favour if he asks Navy to have a team of veteran submariners overseeing the conduct of Board of Inquiry. Nation has a right to know. Only an independent technical proficient body can establish that.
It is not like Old Nuclear Powered Submarine INS Chakra Sonar Capsule getting flooded whilst alongside or multiple accident on 06th June 1989, which included flooding, jamming of aft planes, submarine developing diving angle > 20 degrees while operating at full speed at 100 % Reactor Power at a depth of 150 metres in a sea having bottom only at 350 metres fire, a reactor scram, radiation leak from first loop, which can be kept under wraps of secrecy, a price too high in the form of resignation by the Naval Chief has already been paid.
Nation deserves an answer..... truthful answer because faith of common man in the armed forces is eroded.