Jokowi meets families of sunken Indonesian submarine crew

Relatives of a crew member of the sunken Indonesian submarine in front of his portrait during a posthumous promotion ceremony yesterday for all the 53 who perished last week. President Joko Widodo, who officiated at the ceremony in Sidoarjo, East Jav
Relatives of a crew member of the sunken Indonesian submarine in front of his portrait during a posthumous promotion ceremony yesterday for all the 53 who perished last week. President Joko Widodo, who officiated at the ceremony in Sidoarjo, East Java, also handed out compensation to families of the crew.PHOTO: REUTERS

Indonesian President Joko Widodo met families of the sunken submarine crew in Sidoarjo, East Java, yesterday and handed out compensation for the loss of their loved ones.

"On behalf of the state, government and the people, I offer my deep condolences on the death of the patriots of the KRI Nanggala-402. Hopefully, their souls rest in peace and find the best place beside God, and all their sins are forgiven," he said at Juanda naval airbase.

As promised, the government has upgraded the ranks of the 53 submariners by one level and will fund the education of their children until their undergraduate degrees, he added.

Addressing the wives of the crew members, the President added: "Houses will be built for you all at your choice of location. They can be in Gresik, Sidoarjo or other places."

Mr Widodo, better known as Jokowi, instructed the Indonesian Armed Forces commander, Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto, and navy chief of staff, Admiral Yudo Margono, to make the arrangements as soon as possible.

The 44-year-old German-built submarine was taking part in a torpedo-firing drill off Bali last Wednesday when it dove and then lost contact.

More than 20 vessels from Indonesia and other countries, including Singapore, were deployed in the search and rescue operation.

The Indonesian authorities announced on Sunday that the submarine was found cracked into three parts on the seabed north of Bali and all 53 crew members on board were dead.

Investigations into the cause of the incident are ongoing, but the navy has postulated that a strong underwater wave in the area where the submarine was reported missing might have forced it into a quick descent.

Yesterday, the government also granted the submariners the star medal Jalasena Nararya for their sacrifice and service.

"This is an honour for all of us, the pride for all of us, for all warriors who have dedicated themselves to guard our sovereignty at sea," Adm Yudo said of the award.

Among those present at the meeting were Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto, Social Affairs Minister Tri Rismaharini, House of Representatives Speaker Puan Maharani and East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa.

A prayer ceremony for the sailors will be held in Banyuwangi today, led by the Armed Forces commander and the navy chief of staff and attended by the families of the crew.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 30, 2021, with the headline 'Jokowi meets families of sunken Indonesian submarine crew'. Subscribe