“It falls under the category of rarest of rare,” said the captain, referring to the ‘slipping’ of INS Betwa inside the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai.The Indian Navy’s (IN) self-designed and built frigate named INS Betwa embodied the spirit of being the ‘impregnable’. It is a fact evident from its crest which sports the Stupa of Sanchi, located on the banks of Betwa river in Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh.On Monday, after putting in nearly 12 years and five months in service, at about 1:50pm, something gave away. The impact of it was so severe that it plunged the ship into the muddy waters inside Mumbai’s Naval Dockyard. Nearly 12 hours later, it remains there. What also remains is a solid question mark over her ability to even recover.According to a statement released by the IN, INS Betwa was ‘In the process of undocking when she slipped from her dock blocks and tilted’. The IN also said that a ‘technical evaluation’ was underway to make the ship upright. Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral Sunil Lanba will spend time in Mumbai on Tuesday getting first hand information of the circumstances.Simply put, undocking is an action of setting the ship free from the dock that holds her. The way to undock a ship is to let her float on her own. Thus, inside the dock, where the INS Betwa had gone for refit, in a controlled manner, sea water is allowed in. Once the ship finds adequate water to attain buoyancy, it undocks. advertisementAlso read: Two sailors dead, 14 injured as INS Betwa tips over in Mumbai dockyard NEVER SEEN THIS BEFORECommanded by Captain Uday Thapar, an aviator, the settings that trap INS Betwa evoke strong feelings among those who’ve dealt with docking and undocking of ships like the INS Betwa and even bigger ones. They say they are stumped at what their eyes are seeing. While the IN did not release any footage, images obtained through sources have shocked observers. India Today spoke to several naval officers, serving and retired. Most of them said they’d never come across anything like this even as a case study far less an actual prospect.”Either the dock slabs were placed wrongly or the dock blocks were corroded. The weight calculations were faulty and that is why it tipped over,” said a retired officer. Another senior officer, belonging to the technical branch added, “Ships start floating from the forepeak (front portion) which keeps them stable during undocking. Problem arises if she starts floating from the rear first”. He said he was ‘deeply saddened’ at seeing ‘such a sorry spectacle’.SIGNS OF SHORT CUTS TAKEN: RETIRED ADMIRALDinesh Chauhan, a former Coast Guard Commandant and a technical officer who has overseen several undockings said, “This is simply unimaginable. Unlike a merchant ship whose body is U-shaped, a naval or coast guard ship is V-shaped so stability has to be maintained at all costs”. According to him, the Admiral Superintendent (ASD) at the Naval Dockyard, Western Naval Command’s Command Technical Officer and the crew o the ship need to be held accountable.A retired Rear Admiral who too was a technical officer said, “This has all the signs of a short cut taken or a negligence shown, especially from the ship’s crew. You can keep saying that the civilian workforce does a shoddy job but that is precisely the reason why you are deployed – to effectively overlook matters and intervene when required”.In January 2011, another naval frigate, INS Vindhyagiri had listed on its left (port side) and gone down inside the naval dockyard following a collision a sea with a merchant ship. While the IN did eventually set her upright, she had to be written off. So severe was the damage. In August 2013, the Sindhughosh-class submarine, INS Sindhurakshak too sank inside the shallow waters of the dockyard following a massive explosion on board. Neither the crew on board nor the submarine survived, even though a complex salvage operation saw the boat being lifted out of water months after the incident.