One year after the disappearance of the Argentinian submarine ARA San Juan, the search continues, investigators are long past any hope of recovering survivors. Now the search has refocused on locating the hull and the remains of the trapped submariners.
In the early morning hours of November 15, 2017, the ARA San Juan, one of Argentina’s three diesel electric attack submarines, disappeared. As USNI News recounts, the captain of the San Juan sent a satellite phone message to his headquarters stating water had entered the ship through the snorkel and started a battery fire. The sub sent an identical message, then at 7:30 a.m. reported it was proceeding on course.
At 10:31 a.m., a monitoring station that listens for nuclear explosions recorded an underwater “impulsive event” near the last known location of the San Juan. Despite a multinational effort to find the submarine and rescue survivors, its remains were never found.
According to USNI News, the Argentine government has contracted an American company, Ocean Infinity, to locate the sub. The company has deployed the offshore supply ship Seabed Constructor to where company experts believe the submarine could be located. Five autonomous underwater vehicles are operating from Seabed Constructor, searching the sea bottom.
The ship-tracking site Maritimetraffic.com currently has the Seabed Constructor locatedapproximately 240 miles east of the Gulf de Jorge in the South Atlantic Ocean. The site uses a ship’s Automatic Identification System to determine its location.The Norwegian flagged ship is currently traveling at 12.4 knots ENE.
Ocean Infinity believes the ARA San Juan could be either on a relatively flat stretch of ocean floor or a rugged undersea mountain range. The company has had numerous false alarms in which it has detected objects approximately the same size and shape as the submarine but which invariably turned out to be something else.