Missing Argentine submarine found after one-year search

Argentine Navy file photo

An Argentine Navy submarine that went missing with 44 crewmembers on board was found at the bottom of the South Atlantic Ocean one day after the first anniversary of its disappearance.

The TR-1700-class diesel electric submarine ARA San Juan was discovered by Ocean Infinity’s subsea support and construction vessel Seabed Constructor at a depth of 907 metres some 500 kilometres from the city of Comodoro Rivadavia on Friday, November 16.

The Argentine Navy has announced that one of Seabed Constructor’s ROVs had made a “positive identification” of the submarine.

A navy official confirmed that San Juan imploded after exceeding its rated crush depth of 600 metres. This resulted in a collapsed hull and debris being scattered over an area spanning 70 metres on the ocean floor.

Argentine defence minister Oscar Aguad said that the government did not have the technology needed to recover the wreck and that their next course of action still needs to be decided.

San Juan was on its way to participate in a military exercise when it went missing. It last made radio contact at 07:30 local time on November 15, 2017, when its captain reported an electrical issue with the vessel’s batteries.

The crew included Lieutenant Eliana Krawczyk, Argentina’s first female submarine-qualified officer.

The ensuing search and rescue (SAR) effort, which included 15 countries providing both government and civilian assistance, has been deemed the largest SAR operation in the history of the South Atlantic Ocean.

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