The Argentine Navy launched a search operation after it lost contact with the submarine ARA San Juan earlier this week.
According to Diario Journada, the Ministry of Defense said the submarine’s last position was registered in the early hours of Wednesday, November 15 around 240 nautical miles (432 km) offshore in the Golfo San Jorge, which is around 920 miles (1,500 km) south of Buenos Aires.
At a press conference, Navy spokesperson Enrique Balbi said neither visual nor radar contact with the submarine had been established, and that an internationally approved search plan is being followed, although this is being hampered by adverse weather conditions, Urgent24 reported.
Balbi told TN the submarine “was heading from the Ushuaia naval base to the Mar del Plata naval base, its usual station” and that “at some point there was no communication,” La Nacion reported.
“The last reliable and official information is that the submarine has not yet been found. It is not that it is lost, to be lost you have to look for it and not find it,” Balbi said.
According to a Navy document published by Urgent24, the last known position of the ship on November 15 was 46°44 ‘ south, 59°54’ west.
According to La Nacion, two corvettes and an aircraft participated in the search operation near Puerto Madryn, while Diario Journada said two aircraft were involved.
Balbi said that reports of a fire on board the ship have not been confirmed by the Navy, adding that there may have been a technical failure, La Capital De Mar Del Plata reported.
The ARA San Juan (S-42) is a 66-metre TR-1700 diesel-electric submarine built in Germany and has been in service with the Argentine Navy since 1986. It has a capacity for 37 crew.
In 2008, the submarine began a two-to-three-year mid-life modernization in order to extend its service life by up to 30 years. During this process, the hull was cut in half to allow engineers’ access, La Nacion reported.