The Indian Navy’s Leander-class frigate Vindhyagiri, pictured here, suffered a collision with a merchant vessel on 30 January, caught fire, and sank the following day. The accident occurred while the ship was traveling as part of a convoy in Mumbai Harbor. An inquiry into the sinking continues, but according to local media reports, the mishap was the result of a communication error broadcast from the INS Godavari, another frigate in the convoy, which had signaled conflicting location and navigational messages to the Cyprus-flagged merchant ship MV Nordlake. The Nordlake subsequently collided at a right angle into the Vindhyagiri’s starboard side. Though the frigate managed to arrive dockside, safely offloading her crew and passengers, the fire proved too intense and the ship sank in shallow water. It may be possible to salvage the vessel. The 3,000-ton Vindhyagiri was built at Mazagon Docks in Mumbai and entered service in 1981. She was armed with a single 114-mm gun, two twin 30-mm guns, and an antisubmarine-warfare rocket launcher; she could carry one helicopter.
By Eric Wertheim