A RAF Voyager transport, in a direct link from MPA in the Falkland Islands landed on Thursday morning at Ezeiza airport in Buenos Aires with 25 members of the HMS Protector crew, on time to catch a midday British Airways flight to London. It has been decades since an RAF unit lands in the Argentine capital international airport.
The event was underlined by the Argentine media and as happened in Comodoro Rivadavia when the HMS Protector was among the first to join in the search for the missing submarine ARA San Juan, they were welcomed with open arms and or applause.
In Ezeiza the RAF team and HMS Protector crew members were received by an officer from the Argentine Air Force and the Defence attaché from the British embassy.
The good chemistry that has emerged from the UK efforts in the search of the Argentine submarine in the South Atlantic has also had an impact between the defense ministries of both countries, and high level meetings of officials are scheduled for sometime next February, March, according to Argentine media.
HMS Protector has been involved in the surveying of the sea bottom looking for possible indications of the missing submarine that has remained unaccounted for over two weeks. She is currently in the Falklands for the mid season crew relief, before returning to continue with the search.
According to Argentine media, apparently HMS Protector in this new search phase will also include a mini-sub or ROV (remote operated vehicle), which was flown to Comodoro Rivadavia by an RAF transport.
Under the international Search and Rescue, SAR, convention, Britain, as well as another fourteen countries, has contributed to the ARA San Juan search effort with Ice Patrol HMS Protector; Falklands patrol HMS Clyde; a Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel plus special submariners and equipment. A Hercules C 130 is on standby in the Falklands and MPA facilities are open to aircraft involved in the operation.
Argentine defence minister Oscar Aguad has thanked British personnel and shared information on the search efforts with Royal Navy officers. Likewise Foreign minister Jorge Faurie praised the British government and the attitude of the Falkland Islanders, who offered the possibility of helicopters stationed in the Islands to join the search effort, for which the Argentine people are highly grateful to these gestures of friendship and solidarity.