Wreck of Missing Argentine Navy Submarine ARA San Juan Found After Year of Searching

The wreck of the missing Argentine Navy submarine, ARA San Juan (S-42), was found after an year of searching, the Navy said on Saturday.

The Navy said that an unmanned submersible operated by U.S. company Ocean Infinity located a large object at a depth of 800 metres in the Atlantic Ocean, off the Valdes Peninsulain Argentine Patagonia. Ocean Infinity was contracted by the Argentinian authorities to search for the missing vessel.

In a Twitter statement, the Navy later confirmed the large object to be the wreck of the missing submarine.

Ocean Infinity used five Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) to carry out the search, which was conducted by a team of approximately 60 crew members on board Seabed Constructor, a multipurpose offshore vessel operated by the company. In addition, three officers of the Argentine Navy and four family members of the crew of the ARA San Juan joined Seabed Constructor to observe the search operation.

Seabed Constructor multipurpose offshore vessel operated by Ocean Infinity
Seabed Constructor multipurpose offshore vessel operated by Ocean Infinity. Photo by Ocean Infinity.

The company is known for having conducted a search operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
(MH370) Boeing 777-200ER airliner. Ocean Infinity has reportedly committed to receiving payment from Argentina only if ARA San Juan is found, reported Sputnik news agency.

ARA San Juan, an Argentine TR-1700 class submarine, went missing with 44 crewmen aboard in November last year. The contact was lost when the submarine was en route from the Ushuaia naval base in the country’s far south to Mar del Plata base, around 400 kilometres southeast of the capital, Buenos Aires. She was in the southern Argentine Sea, 432 kilometres from the Patagonian coast when it gave its last location.

An extensive search missions to locate the vessel have been underway since the tragedy, with help from the international community.

ARA San Juan (S-42)

ARA San Juan (S-42) was a German TR-1700 (Santa Cruz)-class diesel-electric submarine in service with the Argentine Navy.

The TR-1700 class submarines are built by Thyssen Nordseewerke in the 1980s. These ships are amongst the largest submarines built in Germany since World War II and are among the fastest diesel-electric submarines in the world.

San Juan was laid down on 18 March 1982 and launched on 20 June 1983. The submarine entered service on 19 November 1985. It has a single-hull design, with a lightweight bow and stern and a watertight superstructure in the central part.

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