US, Russia deep-search vessels join hunt for Argentine sub

US, Russia deep-search vessels join hunt for Argentine sub

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — U.S and Russian ships carrying remotely operated vehicles capable of deep seafloor searches are joining other vessels hunting for an Argentine submarine that went missing in the South Atlantic 19 days ago, the navy said Monday.

An explosion occurred near the time and place where the ARA San Juan disappeared Nov. 15. The navy says it is no longer looking for survivors although a multinational operation continues to search for the vessel, which had a crew of 44.

Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi said Russia’s Yantar oceanographic research ship would arrive in the search area Tuesday. The U.S. Atlantis research vessel is expected to arrive Saturday. They are equipped with deep submergence vehicles that allow them to examine undersea areas nearly 20,000 feet deep (6,000 metres).

The ships will join five vessels from Argentina and a Chilean ship combing an area of some 1,500 square miles (4,000 square kilometres), where sonar detected three unidentified objects on the sea floor to see if they belong to the missing sub.

The San Juan disappeared as it was sailing from the southernmost port of Ushuaia to the coastal city of Mar del Plata after a patrol.

The navy has said the vessel’s captain reported that water entered the snorkel and caused one of the submarine’s batteries to short circuit. The captain later communicated by satellite phone that the problem had been contained, the navy says.

Some hours later, an explosion was detected near the time and place where the San Juan was last heard from. Balbi has said the blast could have been triggered by a “concentration of hydrogen” caused by the battery problem reported by the captain.

The German-built TR-1700 class submarine was commissioned in the 1980s and was most recently refitted between 2008 and 2014. It was built by a subsidiary of Germany’s ThyssenKrupp that is no longer operational.

Balbi said a group of navy officials who travelled to Germany last week to obtain more information about the design of the submarine had returned to Argentina. He said they will submit all documents to a local judge investigating the sub’s disappearance.

The spokesman said the information gathered in Germany as well as information from an Argentine submarine from the same model that is under repair at a state-owned shipyard could help provide evidence to find out what happened to the San Juan.

When asked if the refit of the submarine had been certified, Balbi said there are some processes that the Germany company might have been involved in and others where it was not.

“But of those things that it certified, surely there must be a record. Everything was duly registered and I imagine that all these reports made on the activation of batteries and repairs will be subject to investigation,” he said, without providing more details.

___

Associated Press writer Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this report.

Almudena Calatrava, The Associated Press

Argentina

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta is on pace to administer more than 300,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses per week, according to the provincial government. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
One million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in Alberta

Alberta hit a milestone in the fight against COVID-19 this week. As… Continue reading

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s expansion project is still a high priority, says Alberta Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Interior work will start this year on Red Deer hospital project, says infrastructure minister

‘We are committed. This is a top priority,’ says Presad Panda

Even with recent restrictions due to rising COVID-19 variant case levels, about 95 per cent of businesses are open in Alberta, said Premier Jason Kenney. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Consistent pandemic policy has helped Alberta, premier says

Alberta fatality rate lower than Canadian average

People play on the rocks on a calm Lake Ontario near Humber Bay during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadian emissions to make up outsized portion of what climate can bear: study

Canadian emissions to make up outsized portion of what climate can bear: study

In this Monday, Feb. 1, 2021 file photo, emissions from a coal-fired power plant are silhouetted against the setting sun in Independence, Mo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Charlie Riedel
Canadian emissions to make up outsized portion of what climate can bear: study

Canadian emissions to make up outsized portion of what climate can bear: study

People wear face masks as they walk in a park in Montreal, Sunday, April 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Premier Francois Legault softens rules for outdoor mask use following criticism

Premier Francois Legault softens rules for outdoor mask use following criticism

A empty classroom is pictured at Eric Hamber Secondary school in Vancouver, B.C. Monday, March 23, 2020. The Alberta government says schools in Calgary will move to at-home learning starting Monday for students in grades 7 to 12.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
‘Operational pressures:’ Calgary schools shift to at-home learning for grades 7 to 12

‘Operational pressures:’ Calgary schools shift to at-home learning for grades 7 to 12

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on April 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Italian-Canadians to get formal apology for treatment during Second World War

Italian-Canadians to get formal apology for treatment during Second World War

Heartfelt messages are left on a table as people come out to mark International Overdose Awareness Day during a mass group naloxone training seminar at Centennial Square in Victoria, B.C., on Saturday August 31, 2019. nbsp;When British Columbia's provincial health officer declared an emergency into the overdose crisis five years ago, he said it was because those who died deserved more of a response. Since then, Dr. Perry Kendall says roughly 7,000 died unnecessarily. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
7,000 more overdose deaths since B.C. declared public health emergency in 2016

7,000 more overdose deaths since B.C. declared public health emergency in 2016

A vial of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine dose is shown at a facility in Milton, Ont., on March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Ontario sees vaccine supply issues, Ottawa keeps AstraZeneca on the market

Ontario sees vaccine supply issues, Ottawa keeps AstraZeneca on the market

Storage tanks are shown at the Marathon Petroleum Corp. refinery in Detroit on April 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Paul Sancya
U.S. oil comprised 77 per cent of Canada’s foreign oil imports last year: regulator

U.S. oil comprised 77 per cent of Canada’s foreign oil imports last year: regulator

Most Read