SUBMARINE ESCAPE AND RESCUE IN THE INDIAN NAVY
Submarine accidents are rare, but they have occasionally happened in other Navies, usually with considerable losses. Whereas the Indian Navy has a proud and unblemished record in submarining, as in all other Navies the possibility of a submarine accident in an ever-lurking danger has to be guarded against. In the event of an accident where the submarine is unable to surface, an attempt is made to bring her to the surface with the assistance of ships and divers. If this is not successful, the only alternative is for the crew to escape from the submarine rescue vessel. This calls for a very high degree of discipline and training.
In 1971 the Indian Navy acquired the submarine rescue vessel INS Nistar. This ship had the capability of rescuing the crew of a disabled submarine from deep depths, using a " rescue bell", by the dry escape method, which meant that the problems associated with decompression were avoided. The good ship Nistar rendered yeoman service in the Navy before being pensioned off in 1989. The diving tender Nireekshak, to whom she has bequeathed some of her equipment such as the all-important diving bell, succeeds her. A unique escape with help system in the Indian Navy is the rescue sphere fitted in the Shishumar class, which enables the crew to escape by the dry method.