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Montevideo, December 14th 2017 - 02:21 UTC

Missing submarine search returns to the point where the last contacts were made

Thursday, November 23rd 2017 - 08:29 UTC
Full article 46 comments
Nay spokesman Enrique Balbi, said the “hydro-acoustic anomaly” was determined by the United States and specialist agencies to have been produced Nov. 15 Nay spokesman Enrique Balbi, said the “hydro-acoustic anomaly” was determined by the United States and specialist agencies to have been produced Nov. 15
The sound originated about 30 miles north of the submarine’s last registered position, he said. “It’s a noise. We don’t want to speculate” about what caused it The sound originated about 30 miles north of the submarine’s last registered position, he said. “It’s a noise. We don’t want to speculate” about what caused it
Argentine navy ships as well as a U.S. P-8 Poseidon aircraft and a Brazilian air force plane have returned to the area to check out the clue Argentine navy ships as well as a U.S. P-8 Poseidon aircraft and a Brazilian air force plane have returned to the area to check out the clue

Ships and planes hunting for the missing Argentine submarine with 44 crew members will return to a previous search area after officials said Wednesday that a noise made a week ago in the South Atlantic could provide a clue to the vessel’s location.

 The Argentina navy spokesman, Capt. Enrique Balbi, said the “hydro-acoustic anomaly” was determined by the United States and specialist agencies to have been produced Nov. 15, just hours after the final contact with the ARA San Juan and could have come from the sub.

The sound originated about 30 miles north of the submarine’s last registered position, he said. “It’s a noise. We don’t want to speculate” about what caused it, Balbi said.

He said Argentine navy ships as well as a U.S. P-8 Poseidon aircraft and a Brazilian air force plane would return to the area to check out the clue, even though the area has been searched.

On land, relatives of the submarine’s crew grew increasingly distressed as experts said the vessel lost for seven days might be reaching a critical period of low oxygen.

ARA San Juan went missing as it was sailing from the extreme southern port of Ushuaia to the city of Mar del Plata, about 400 kilometers southeast of Buenos Aires.

The Argentine navy and outside experts worry that oxygen for the crew would last only seven to 10 days if the sub was intact but submerged. Authorities do not know if the sub rose to the surface to replenish its oxygen supply and charge batteries, which would affect the calculation.

The German-built diesel-electric TR-1700 class submarine was scheduled to arrive on Monday at the naval base in Mar del Plata, where city residents have been dropping by with messages of support for relatives of the crew.

More than two dozen airplanes and ships are participating in the multinational search despite stormy weather that has caused waves of more than 6 meters. Search teams are combing an area of some 480,000 square kilometers, which is roughly the size of Spain.

Britain has sent the Royal Navy’s HMS Protector and HMS Clyde, plus a Falklands' stationed RAF C-130 aircraft and a Voyager refuelling aircraft.

The U.S. government has sent two P-8 Poseidons, a naval research ship, a submarine rescue chamber and sonar-equipped underwater vehicles. U.S. Navy sailors from the San Diego-based Undersea Rescue Command are also helping with the search.

President Donald Trump went on Twitter to offer his good wishes to Argentina on Wednesday, though he inflated the number of missing sailors by one.

“I have long given the order to help Argentina with the Search and Rescue mission of their missing submarine. 45 people aboard and not much time left. May God be with them and the people of Argentina!” his tweet said.

Hopes were lifted after brief satellite calls were received and when sounds were detected deep in the South Atlantic. But experts later determined that neither was from the missing sub. A U.S. Navy aircraft later spotted flares and a life raft was found in the search area, but authorities said neither came from the missing submarine.

The false alarms have rattled nerves among distraught family members. Some have begun to complain that the Argentine navy responded too late.

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  • DerkeBlake

    pgerman

    That is as pathetic a response as I could ever imagine; justifying the unjustifiable; grasping at straws, and whatever other silly term applies.
    Fine, demand an inquiry, and any other normal naval procedure and protocol; but if you are being sincere in your objective, then don’t insinuate motives and possibilities in such a request (particularly such ridiculous ones), to further some warped bias and agenda.
    You lose all credibility defending such a bizarre statement by such a despicable person. Just admit that Alejandro Karlen is a left-over parasitic dinosaur from CFK, and move on; just cut your loses and maybe you’ll retain a bit of dignity.
    Two sentences on the sinking; and then six trying to involve the Brits. Seriously? You really don’t know when to pick your battles, do you?

    Nov 24th, 2017 - 06:39 am +5
  • Marti Llazo

    @gordito “Why does Argentina need submarines anyway?”

    Need you ask? Remember: this is Argentina.

    The submarines are for their offensive capabilities. They are “attack” submarines. Almost no real utility for fisheries protection and all that nonsense that the argies tried to present. The San Juan was also configured for clandestine insertion of up to 36 special operations troops along the lines of what was done in the Falklands in 1982. It's quite possible that the admitted “44” crew members number for this trip didn't include everybody aboard and that when bodies are recovered, the numbers might be different.

    We'll see. It's early yet.

    But apparently the maps that Argentina is showing the public about the course taken are deliberately deceptive, because the Royal Navy detected the San Juan much closer to the Falklands than the Argentines are admitting. And it's looking more and more like both US and RN sensors picked up the explosion aboard the submarine and the information was passed to Argentina some days before public admission.

    It's early yet, but it's going to get embarrassing after the sympathy wears off.

    Nov 23rd, 2017 - 08:29 pm +4
  • Conqueror

    I think we can all now be sure that the submarine has “gone”. It shouldn't be forgotten that this boat was, at one time, cut in half. Does anybody know of any occasion when a British or American submarine, the admitted world leaders, has been cut in half when there was an intention to return it to service? I can't think of one. However, given that it was done, the site of the re-joining would be a permanent weak point unless every millimetre of welding was perfect and, for safety, reinforced. But, even without the cut, we should assume the working life of a submarine hull to be 30 years. This boat would have been, at best, “on the edge”. Its apparent location is another possible clue. If it slipped over the continental shelf, it would stand no chance. Ocean depths are 5,000 metres or thereabouts. Well beyond crush depth. If the crew were suffering from anoxia or hypoxia, it would only take one mistake. It's unlikely that a deep submergence rescue vessel could reach such a depth. Recovery of wreckage is therefore unlikely.

    One must also take into account the possibilities of explosion/implosion if seawater reaches the batteries. If the boat was armed, which is most likely, any “problems” with various parts of the electrical systems could easily touch off the weapons.

    Like gordo1, I question argieland's “need” for submarines in times of acute economic difficulties. And we can remember that the “major” maintenance work on this boat covered a time when the Type 42 destroyer Santisima Trinidad sank at its mooring due to poor maintenance.

    It is understood that argieland has only one of these boats, the Santa Cruz, left. They would be well-advised to take it out of service. Argieland also has one, smaller, Type 209 submarine. It would be well-advised to take that out of service as well for examination by competent, experienced engineers.

    Nov 23rd, 2017 - 09:29 pm +4
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