“ARA San Juan” Argentine – the long wait for a missing sub

It has been 12 days since the Argentina’s Submarine ARA San Juan went missing.

Relatives of crew members gathered at submarine’s naval base on Saturday, Noveremb 26, to take part in a religious ceremony. They were joined by hundreds of supporters.

The Argentine military submarine ARA San Juan and crew are seen leaving the port of Buenos Aires, Argentina June 2, 2014. Picture taken on June 2, 2014. Armada Argentina/Handout via REUTERS

Some have begun mourning for their loved ones, fearing that it is too late for them to be found alive.

The sub went missing on November 15, when ARA San Juan was returning from a routine mission in Ushuaia near the southern-most tip of South America, when the vessel reported an “electrical breakdown”.

It has surfaced and has reported the breakdown, which was described by the Naval Commander Gabriel Galeazzi as a “short circuit” in the sub’s batteries.

The vessel was then ordered to cut its mission short and return to Mar del Plata naval base immediately.

The Argentine navy raised the possibility on November 23, that the missing submarine in the South Atlantic suffered an explosion, heightening concerns over the fate of the 44 crew members.

According to the Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi, an abnormal sound was detected underwater by an international agency on the morning of November 15, around the time that the ARA San Juan sent its last signal and in the same area, was “consistent with an explosion”.

He further states that the Navy did not have enough information to say what the cause of the explosion could have been or whether the vessel might have been attacked.

There are 44 crew members on board, under the command of Pedro Martín Fernández.

A woman sits next to a banner in support of the 44 crew members of the missing at sea ARA San Juan submarine, outside an Argentine naval base in Mar del Plata, Argentina November 25, 2017. The banner reads “ARA San Juan, be strong”. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

Relatives and friends of the 44 crew members are still waiting for news – but hopes have been crushed by a navy announcement that an explosion was recorded near where the submarine vanished.

In the crew included the first Female Submariner of the country, Eliana María Krawczyk, she was 35 and was the chief weapons officer on board. Nicknamed as “the queen of the sea by her father, she studied at the Naval college in Ensenada.

Relatives suggests that the 34-year-old vessel was in a bad state of repair.

But according to the naval spokesman, Enrique Balbi, “The submarine doesn’t sail if that’s not done. If it set off… it was because it was in condition to do so”.

Argentine President, Mauricio Macri, promises the relatives of the submariners that an inquiry will be held into the disappearance of a navy submarine and that they will “know the truth” of what happened.

President Macri urges the Argentine’s not to look for people to blame until the facts are known.

Announcing the official inquiry at navy headquarters in Buenos Aires, Macri said the 34-year-old submarine had recently undergone a refit and was “in perfect condition”.

The US, the UK, Brazil, Chile, Norway, Germany, Canada, France, Peru, Colombia, Russia and Uruguay have joined in the search for the missing Argentine Sub.

The US Navy has deployed two underwater vehicles that conduct sonar scans. A NASA research aircraft has flown over the search area but failed to spot anything.


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