The Day I Became A “Jaga Kereta” For A Submarine

The Day I Became A "Jaga Kereta" For A Submarine

The Day I Became A “Jaga Kereta” For A Submarine.

With LIMA starting in a couple of days, I am looking at the many images I captured over the years. This is one of my favourite moments from LIMA and it was from 2007. It was so bizarre, funny and am honoured to be able to experience it. I stumbled upon the scene at Porto Malai naval harbour by chance. Was walking on the dockyard after a lunch cum tour hosted by a Royal Malaysian Navy ship earlier.

An Indian Navy submarine was trying to dock after resurfacing. There was such a big commotion, with every sailor shouting back and forth. One would think one was standing outside the noisy kitchen of a mamak restaurant. LOL. The confusion and pandemonium were probably caused by the unfamiliar territory and unconventional berthing. The captain was the coolest guy standing there (below the tower) unperturbed.

A submarine up close was such a rare sight and I was standing at the edge of the dockyard photographing the drama when, all of as sudden, one of the sailors threw a thick and heavy rope at me! I grabbed the the rope, hooked it to a bollard and started shouting “Gostan, Gostan” like a boss. More like a ‘jaga kereta’ (a self-appointed parking attendant by the roadside with a dirty rag), actually.

The local word “gostan” (to reverse) is believed to have originated from “go astern” in sailing terminology.

“Gostan sikit. Lagi, lagi… Oooppp!” Hand slaps submarine, jaga kereta-style.

Not an expert on submarines but a search of scant archived documentation of LIMA hinted it could be the INS Sindhurakshak, a Russian-made Kilo-class diesel-electric submarine of the Indian Navy. Hopefully it was not the INS Sindhurakshak. In August 2013, the Sindhurakshak sank after explosions caused by a fire on board when the submarine was berthed at Mumbai. There were fatalities.

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