Wednesday , January 27 2021

ARA San Juan: they discovered that the submarine disappeared last year

The crew had last made contact on November 15, 2017; a private company located the ship 800 meters deep Source: Archive

A year and a day later, the search came to an end. When the fate of the 44 people who traveled as

submarine ARA San Juan

It seemed lost forever in the infinity of the Atlantic Ocean, a private company located last night the ship's remains 800 feet deep, more than 600 miles off the coast of

Comodoro Rivadavia

, Chubut, 366 days after the loss of contact, on November 15, 2017.

The information was confirmed by the

Ministry of Defense

and by the Argentine Navy. "Having investigated the No. 24 point of interest reported by Ocean Infinity, through an observation made with an 800-foot ROV, a positive identification was given to #AraSanJuan," they announced. Ocean Infinity is the company that was hired for the search and was about to abort the mission. ROV is the acronym for Remote Operated Vehicle, a vehicle operated remotely.

Before confirming the information publicly at around midnight, the Navy communicated with relatives and relatives of the 44 crew members and Judge Marta Yáñez, in charge of the judicial investigation into the disappearance of the submarine.

The last communication of ARA San Juan was on November 15 of last year, when traveling from Ushuaia to the Naval Base of Mar del Plata.

According to the company Ocean Infinity, which will charge $ 7.5 million for the discovery, the submarine is 800 meters deep in the South Atlantic, about 250 kilometers from the Gulf of St. George of Chubut, where it was set up. the center of operations during the survey. It was a point they had already reviewed but had not found. It was the relatives who insisted on returning to the place, a limited area where the submarine should be.

The work of
the company of


began on September 8 at about 300 nautical miles from Comodoro Rivadavia. To date, 40 Norwegian vessels of Seabed Constructor have arrived on board the vessel, including seamen and technicians, accompanied by four
and three of the State.

The ship Seabed Constructor worked with five AUVs in the search area of ​​ARA San Juan
The ship Seabed Constructor worked with five AUVs in the search area of ​​ARA San Juan Credit: Armada

For research
They have brought the latest technology available. Mapped
almost 7 thousand square kilometers of seabed with five autonomous underwater vehicles.

After navigating for forty hours on average, the AUVs were retrieved from the sea when the battery ran out. Once above the ship, the data collected by the lateral sweep sonar, the multibeam probe and the magnetometer were downloaded. This took about four hours. Subsequent processing took 10 to 12 hours longer. Based on these data, the "points of interest" investigated by the ROVs were defined, with high-definition video cameras that transmitted live images.

The "points of interest" were classified on a five-level scale: class "A" corresponded to submarine identification, "B" corresponded to a "high probability", "C", "strong probability"; "D", "improbable compatibility" and "E", "identified as incompatible". Until finding the ARA San Juan, 24 points were discarded, mainly geological formations.

With the location, hours before finishing the
In the first phase of the search, the firm fulfilled its contract. The government must now assess the feasibility of recovering the submarine, a complex operation.

The ROV is the team with high resolution video cameras with which you can see ARA San Juan
The ROV is the team with high resolution video cameras with which you can see ARA San Juan Credit: Armada Argentina

What happened according to the experts

Three experts from the research commission and
ad honorem which the Ministry of Defense had pushed a month after the last contact with the ship, concluded that a series of events, some simultaneous and others linked, led to the implosion of the submarine.

The team members analyzed previous cases and international bibliography. They met with other international experts, with people who repaired the submarine's half-life and were in contact with the Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), which detected a "hydroacoustic anomaly." on November 15, 2017.

the document, the series of events began with a fire in the battery tank located on the bow of the submarine. The incident would have been caused by the inflow of water through the snorkel. On November 14, 2017, there was a southwestern storm, which meant that the surface ship had to navigate northeast so that the waves would lessen navigation. The fire forced ARA San Juan to emerge, at night and in the middle of a storm. In the dark and in the hostile climate, controlling this incident and eliminating the smoke and hydrogen could take hours. According to the report, when the situation could be controlled, albeit partially, the submarine went diving with the intention of sailing to Mar del Plata and continue working on repairs. For the experts, at the moment, the team accumulated physical and psychological wear and tear for having been in that situation all night. This was not reported in the last communication, which was at 8.52 on November 15.

The investigating commission concluded that at some point after 8.52 the fire would have been revived or a new one would have been set off. Again in the dark, with the crew tired, a new explosion could lead to a lack of control. Faced with this situation, the "governing system" of the ship has been lost or affected.

According to the investigating commission, the explosion detected in reality was an implosion and kneading of the hull by water pressure. This is what could be verified through the CTBTO. Now, before the discovery of the remains of the submarine, maybe they can finish rebuilding what happened.

The distance between the location of the explosion and that of the discovery

The place where the submarine ARA San Juan imploded is 41 kilometers from where they found it last night.


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