The Argentine navy has lost contact with one of its submarines that was travelling off the country’s Atlantic coast, the military service said Friday.The San Juan has been missing off the coast of Patagonia for more than two days, and the navy denies that communication was lost after an on~board fire .
The San Juan has been missing off the coast of Patagonia for more than two days.
Oddly Britain has offered to help find Argentina’s missing submarine after crew failed to make contact on voyage near Falklands.
THE British military has stepped forward to offer help finding a missing Argentinian submarine after crew failed to make contact on a voyage near the Falklands.
The sub – with 44 on board – is missing in the South Atlantic, prompting a massive search to locate the vessel which is feared to have suffered a communication breakdown.
The ARA San Juan submarine was in the southern Argentine Sea, 432 km (268 miles) from the Patagonian coast when it gave its last location two days ago.
Ships and aircraft have now been scrambled to search for the vessel.
Sky News Defence Correspondent Alistair Bunkall said the British Government has offered to assist, with an A C130 Hercules stationed in the Falklands Islands on standby if required.
“When the submarine has no communication with land, it has to go to the surface, and so visual or radar detection is what is important,” Argentine naval spokesman Enrique Balbi told reporters.
The last radio contact with the San Juan submarine was on Wednesday, when it was 430km off the coast of the southern province of Chubut, in the area of San Jorge bay, a naval spokesman said on Friday.
Local media reports claimed the submarine had been located 70 metres down in waters 300km east of the Patagonian coastal city of Puerto Madryn by the International Submarine Escape and Rescue Liason Office. The media reports have not been officially confirmed and came as Argentina’s president, Mauricio Macri, tweeted that: “We are committed to using all the national and international resources that are necessary to find the Argentinean Navy’s submarine San Juan as soon as possible.”
The navy spokesman, Enrique Balbi, told local television that as there was no indication of problems from the submarine, it could not yet be termed lost.
“The latest official and reliable information is that the submarine has not yet been found. It’s not that it’s lost: to be lost you’d have to look for it – and not find it,” he said. A tracker aeroplane and navy ships were scouring the area in search of the missing vessel, he said.
An initial search in an area around the sub’s last known position, about 430km off the south-eastern Valdés peninsula, provided no clues.
Balbi said an initial search was hampered “because it was carried out at night and in bad meteorological conditions prevailing in the area of operations”.
The three navy ships and two aircraft flying rotations had “already swept 15% of the search area”, Balbi told reporters.
The vessel had not activated its emergency beacon, he said.
The navy denied a press report that there may have been a fire onboard.
“We are investigating the reasons for the lack of communication,” Balbi said. “If there was a communication problem, the boat would have to come to the surface.”
The diesel-powered 66-metre-long Class TR 1700 San Juan is one of the Argentinian navy’s three submarines. It was bought from Germany in 1985 and underwent a refit between 2007 and 2014 to extend its usefulness by 30 years.
It was on a voyage from the southernmost city of Ushuaia to the naval base of Mar del Plata when contact was lost.
Adm Gabriel González, chief of the Mar del Plata base, said the vessel had sufficient food and oxygen. “We have a loss of communications; we are not talking of an emergency,” he said.
Relatives of some of the crew members were at the base awaiting word of the search.
The British conversely said
“The search in the area remains hot.”
On Friday afternoon, Argentina’s foreign ministry said that the US, British and Chilean governments had offered logistical support and exchanges of information to assist with the search.
A Chilean aircraft with the ability to search during the night was en route to assist.
Balbi said the submarine had food supply for several days and would likely continue its journey despite communication problems