Indian warship collision caught on camera

Dramatic footage emerged on Tuesday of an Indian warship and a merchant vessel colliding off the coast of Mumbai, sparking panic and a fire that crippled the navy frigate.

News channel NDTV aired the video footage taken from on board the INS Vindhyagiri, as it crossed paths on Sunday with the Cyprus-flagged container ship MV Nordlake in the busy shipping lane.

Families of naval personnel were visiting the Vindhyagiri and the ship was returning to the city's naval dockyard at the time of the incident. They were heard screaming as they realised the two ships were on a collision course.

The camera operator then appeared to be flung off balance by the impact, recovering to show men, women and children sprawled on deck amid overturned plastic seats.

About 150 people were on board the warship at the time of the collision with the MV Nordlake, which was leaving Mumbai. No one was seriously injured and ammunition was cleared off the Vindhyagiri, officials said.

A naval board of inquiry is to investigate the cause of the crash, which came six months after two cargo vessels collided on the same stretch, paralysing maritime traffic to the city's busy ports for more than a week.

Defence ministry spokesman Captain M. Nambiar told AFP on Tuesday that contrary to some Indian media reports, the Vindhyagiri had not sunk and was hopeful that it could be refloated and repaired.

The ship's keel had "touched bottom" and was listing in the shallow waters of the naval dockyard, he said. A clearer picture would emerge once an assessment was carried out of the damage to the hull.

"It can be repaired," Nambiar added.

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