The Monumen Kapal Selam is a testament to the naval history of Indonesia. The museum is primarily housed in Indonesia’s finest and first submarine, the Pasopati 410. Built in Vladivostik in year 1952, the Russian Whiskey class submarine was purchased by the country in 1962. It served the country in the effort to push the Dutch out of New Guinea. Its job was to destroy the enemy lines as well as supervise and conduct secret raids. The Pasopati also took a major role in maintaining Marine Law, especially during Operation Trikora. The submarine was known to have destroyed enemy lines by psychologically putting pressure on the enemy.
In year 1995, Basofi Soedirman who was the then governor of Surabaya decided to convert the submarine into a museum. Surabaya at the time was also home to the navy’s eastern armada. The submarine was then cut into 16 individual pieces and was brought to its present location. Different parts of the submarine were then reassembled by placing it on a solid foundation. It is then became a monument tank taken from the full scale submarine and not a replica. Its authenticity adds to its distinct charm. In July of 1998, the submarine was officially opened to the public by the name Monkasel and has been operating as one of the top attractions of Surabaya since then.
The submarine museum is indeed a unique twist to the usual museum buildings found around Surabaya city. Not only does it provide a new tourist resort in the East Java region but it also stands legacy to the values that reflect the history of Indonesia as a Maritime State. The museum also acts as a piece of memorabilia that is dedicated to the brave warriors who fought during the battles of the old city.
The Monkasel has a total of seven rooms: the room for the bow’s torpedo armed with 4 torpedo propellers; the Officer’s Lounge with a below deck reserved as a storage room for Battery I; the main bridge and the Central Command with a food storage room as its below deck; the Crew’s Lounge room, the kitchen and a storage for Battery II at its below deck; Diesel engines and the Engine room terminal; the Engine electrical room; and the Torpedo Chamber armed with a second propeller. The Monkasel is even equipped with a multimedia room that presents a short program in recognition of the Indonesian navy.
Unfortunately, despite the distinct appeal of the museum’s origins, the contents of the museum are quite limited. An added discomfort about visiting the museum is the difficulty in moving around the interior of the museum. There are quite a few tight squeezes and small openings between the divisions making it a bit awkward to go through. In addition, guides do not speak English and there are limited English signs and descriptions.
The museum is open daily from 8 in the morning until 9 in evening. An admission fee of 5,000 Rp is charged per person. Given the heroic missions headed by the KRI Pasopati 410, it is but appropriate for visitors of the city to see this bit of history yet remaining, the Monumen Kapal Selam.