The Argentine Navy Is Missing an Attack Submarine With 44 Crew on Board

Argentine Navy sailors in Ushuaia, Argentina in 2005. Photo: Getty Images
Argentine Navy sailors in Ushuaia, Argentina in 2005. Photo: Getty Images

The ARA San Juan, a Argentine Navy diesel-electric attack submarine built in 1983, has been missing since November 15th with a crew of 44 sailors on board, CNN reported.


Per CNN, the vessel was last spotted in the San Jorge Gulf a few hundred miles off the coast of Patagonia while traveling north from a base in Tierra del Fuego to another in Mar del Plata. According to the BBC, NASA has contributed a P-3 explorer aircraft to the search effort, which also involves an Argentine Hercules C-130, destroyer, and two corvettes. On Friday, the U.S. Navy also prepared to contribute a 21-man P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft.

Officials have been unable to find or communicate with the sub, nor have they located any evidence of its exact position.


Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi told reporters that “Detection has been difficult despite the quantity of boats and aircraft involved in the search,” the BBC wrote. He added that they expect to find it on the surface, due to naval protocols requiring submarines to rise if they experience a technical failure cutting communications.

USNI News reported that the U.S. is “preparing specialized submarine rescue equipment in anticipation of a request from Buenos Aires,” including crew members and resources to run missions with the Submarine Rescue Diving and Recompression System.


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I am very curious as to why they have not formally asked the US for help. The P8 Poseidon is the most advanced sub hunter on the planet and should have no trouble hunting down a 1980s diesel electric sub.

And the UK offering to help is ironic on so many different levels.