December 12, 2019, 17:00

A New Hope: Russia Offers Assistance in Search for Missing Argentinian Submarine

A New Hope: Russia Offers Assistance in Search for Missing Argentinian Submarine

The ARA San Juan, carrying a crew of 44, lost contact with its command on November 15 following reports of a mechanical failure. A large-scale search and rescue operation was launched in the area where the submarine could likely be.

MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) — Earlier, Argentinian army spokesman has said that the vessel was designed to survive autonomously for seven days, which meant it could have oxygen until Wednesday.

Meantime, The rescue operation of missing Argentinian submarine ARA San Juan has entered a critical phase due to possible lack of oxygen on board, Enrique Balbi, spokesman of the country’s Navy, said Wednesday.

“There are still no traces of the submarine. The critical phase continues because of the situation with oxygen,” Balbi said as quoted by Telam agency.

At the same time, he has urged the relatives of the submarine crew not to give up hope and said that the large-scale rescue operation continues.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered assistance in a search for the missing Argentinian submarine San Juan, the Kremlin’s press service said in a statement.

“During the phone conversation Russian President Vladimir Putin said words of support to Argentinian Republic’s President Mauricio Macri in the wake of the situation around the San Juan submarine missing in the Atlantic Ocean… [Putin] offered to provide assistance in a search and rescue operation, [the leaders] agreed to maintain contacts on the issue between countries’ defense ministries,” the statement said, following a Wednesday phone conversation between Vladimir Putin and his Argentinian counterpart Mauricio Macri.

Earlier on in the day, Argentinian Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie has welcomed Putin’s helping hand, stressing that Russia has an “impressive experience” in this issue.

According to media reports, the foul weather conditions with high winds and waves up to seven metres high in the South Atlantic search zone are currently hampering the rescue mission. 

The Defense Ministry of Argentina has said that the last distress signals they believe may have come from the ARA San Juan were detected by satellites on Sunday. However, the Argentinian Navy Command failed to establish a connection with the submarine and could not locate the precise area of the source sending the emergency calls.

​Argentinian Authoities have said that over 4,000 personnel with nearly 30 boats and planes from 12 countries, including the United States, Chile, Brazil and the United Kingdom, were scouring the vast ocean area (500,000 square kilometers (190,000 square miles)) where the submarine could be found. 

ARA San Juan, which is 66 meters long, has a diesel-electric vessel that underwent a complex repair and engineering work in 2008, was constructed in Germany in 1985 and joined the Argentinian Navy a year later.

Currently, the Argentinian Navy officials have drawn three versions of the occured incident.

“We’re considering three scenarios: the submarine is above the surface with its engines running, adrift at sea without propulsion or submerged on the bottom of the ocean,” Argentinian Navy spokesman Captain Enrique Balbi told reporters on Wednesday morning.

The Argentinian Navy is also analyzing a sound that was detected near where the ARA San Juan submarine went missing in the South Atlantic a week ago, the spokesman said late on Wednesday.

“A hydroacoustic anomaly reported officially by a specialized US agency is being analyzed,” Enrique Blabi was quoted as saying in the Navy’s Twitter feed.

Meantime, Vladimir Putin has confirmed readiness to support the Argentinian rescue mission by deploying a Russian high-tech oceanographic vessel to the search area promptly as the time reportedly is running short to find the crew alive.


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