Indonesia Navy Searching For Submarine With 53 Aboard

Indonesian Navy loses contact with submarine near Bali

Reuters news agency said 53 people were on board and that it was involved in torpedo drills when it went missing.

Indonesia's defense ministry said that an aerial search had spotted an oil slick on the water near where the submarine is thought to have performed a dive.

He said that contact with the vessel was lost at 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

Indonesia's military chief Hadi Tjahjanto told AFP the navy had dispatched warships off the northern coast of the island to search for it, and that neighbours Singapore and Australia had been asked for help.

Indonesia has requested the help of Australia and Singapore in finding the submarine.

According to the source, the surface crew became increasingly anxious with each passing hour with contact until, according to Janes, a defense news outlet, the Indonesian armed forces sent out a distress call to the International Submarine Escape and Rescue Liaison Office at about 9:37 a.m. local time to report the submarine as missing with the presumption that it has sunk.

Defence officials from the two countries have not yet commented.

Commander Marshal Tjahjanto will hold a media briefing to share further information about the search on Thursday from Bali, a spokesman said.

Military analyst Soleman Ponto said it is too early to determine the fate of the submarine conclusively.

'We don't know yet whether the communication equipments were broken or the submarine has sunken.

The submarine underwent a two-year refit in South Korea that was completed in 2012, according to the Indonesian cabinet secretariat's website.

Indonesia in the past operated a fleet of 12 submarines purchased from the Soviet Union to patrol the waters of its sprawling archipelago.

It is one of five submarines owned by the Indonesian armed forces and was built in West Germany in 1978.