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Montevideo, December 17th 2017 - 13:52 UTC

Macri promises the truth about what happened with the missing submarine

Saturday, November 25th 2017 - 08:21 UTC
Full article 47 comments
“My commitment is with the truth,’ he said, adding the tragedy ‘will require a serious, in-depth investigation that will yield certainty about what has happened”. “My commitment is with the truth,’ he said, adding the tragedy ‘will require a serious, in-depth investigation that will yield certainty about what has happened”.
Argentina's navy has been fiercely criticized for its handling of the operation since first reporting the submarine overdue at its Mar del Plata base on November 16. Argentina's navy has been fiercely criticized for its handling of the operation since first reporting the submarine overdue at its Mar del Plata base on November 16.
The navy took several days to say that the  ARA San Juan had reported a problem with its batteries in its final communication on November 15. The navy took several days to say that the ARA San Juan had reported a problem with its batteries in its final communication on November 15.
“We have to find the submarine at the bottom of the sea, the area is large, the environment hostile, and the search very difficult,” said navy spokesman Balbi. “We have to find the submarine at the bottom of the sea, the area is large, the environment hostile, and the search very difficult,” said navy spokesman Balbi.
‘Until we have the complete information, we do not have to look for the guilty, to look for those responsible. First we have to have certainty of what happened” ‘Until we have the complete information, we do not have to look for the guilty, to look for those responsible. First we have to have certainty of what happened”

President Mauricio Macri on Friday ordered an inquiry to ‘know the truth’ about what happened to Argentina's missing submarine, ARA San Juan, which disappeared with the loss of its 44 crew. The 34-year-old submarine had gone through a refit and was ‘in perfect condition,’ Macri told reporters at the Argentine navy headquarters.

 ‘My commitment is with the truth,’ he said, adding the tragedy ‘will require a serious, in-depth investigation that will yield certainty about what has happened.’

Argentina's navy has been fiercely criticized for its handling of the operation since first reporting the submarine overdue at its Mar del Plata base on November 16.

The navy took several days to say that the San Juan had reported a problem with its batteries in its final communication on November 15. Only on Thursday did the navy confirm there had been an explosion on board, which experts said was likely linked to the battery problem.

‘Until we have the complete information, we do not have to look for the guilty, to look for those responsible. First we have to have certainty of what happened and why it happened,’ said Macri.

Macri spoke as the search for the San Juan shifted from rescue to recovery on Friday, after navy officials lost hope of finding alive any of the crew, which included the country's first female submarine officer.

‘We have to find the submarine at the bottom of the sea, the area is large, the environment hostile, and the search very difficult,’ said Argentine navy spokesman Enrique Balbi.

Magistrate Marta Yanez has already begun preliminary investigations into the disaster.

She told reporters that unlike a plane, ‘the submarine does not have a black box. The black box is the submarine,’ and it would have to be recovered before the causes of the explosion could be known.

Officially the navy has not declared the loss of the crew, but marine experts believe an explosion would have been catastrophic.

Relatives have focused their anger on the condition of the three-decade-old sub, which had undergone a seven-year refit to extend its service, and the navy's guardedness since the start of the search operation.

In his comments at the navy headquarters, Macri paid tribute to the ‘patriotism, heroism and bravery’ of the San Juan's crew. “For all of them and their families, my greatest affection,” he said.

To the relatives of the missing submariners he said: “The pain is great but we are together, and we are going to travel this road all the way together”/

Argentine press reports on Friday said Macri's center-right government was preparing to sack navy chief Srur as part of a purge of top brass in a country where the military is distrusted.

Sociologist Ricardo Rouvier said the submarine drama ‘encompasses the question of the role of the armed forces’ in a country where they are now on the margins of power.

There is also the issue of possible negligence or disinterest by political forces towards investment in the military, Rouvier said.

Macri, however, chose Friday to pay tribute to the navy and the armed forces as a whole. ‘Because they are the ones who have a central responsibility in the life of this country, which is to take care of our country, to take care of all of us,’ he said.

Depths plummet from 200 meters to more than 3,000 meters on the edge of the Argentine shelf, where the sound of the explosion was picked up by hydro-acoustic sensors used by the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization. Experts say the sub would begin to break-up once below depths of around 600 meters.

Categories: Politics, Argentina.

Top Comments

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  • LEPRecon

    As you said Clyde, it was not in 'perfect' condition, and any politician worth their salt wouldn't make such claims (even if they truly believed them). They would make vague statements about how this would be investigated, with no stone left unturned.

    What will Macri do and say when it is discovered that the San Juan wasn't in 'perfect' condition, and was in fact not seaworthy and should never have been allowed out to sea...especially anything that was deeper than it could cope with?

    This statement will come back to haunt him, unless, of course he's hoping that it will all blow over...which is doubtful. This isn't a ship sinking in port with no loss of life, this is 44 Argentine sailors, and their families will never let this go.

    I expect, over the next few weeks, that there will be a ramp up in 'malvinas' rhetoric as the government tries to distract the Argentine public from this disaster.

    Nov 25th, 2017 - 11:12 am +7
  • Marti Llazo

    There is no need for any sort of dedicated “anti argentine” media. The country's considerable foibles and self-destructive nature are clearly demonstrated in the wealth of information supplied by its own major news outlets and the relative freedom of expression enjoyed by those using alternative media mechanisms (some of which are laughable, but some are worth following).

    One of the evolving stories here now seems to be the appearance of a technological competition between the Russian Federation and the US Navy, for “who can find the lost submarine.” I'm tempted to drive up to Comodoro to get a look at what's unfolding.

    Nov 25th, 2017 - 07:45 pm +7
  • Chicureo

    I've been corresponding with a retired Argentine naval officer friend who tells me that there is an outrage in the navy due to the manner this whole disaster has been poorly handled by the admiralty. Morale was nearly destroyed by the Kirchnerist government and this latest debacle only has made it far worse.

    Nov 25th, 2017 - 08:15 pm +7
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