It has become apparent that the ARA San Juan, a German-built diesel-electric submarine in the Argentina Navy, has been lost with all hands.
San Juan had been missing since November 15, following a naval exercise in Terra del Fuego archipelago and a shore visit to Ushuaia, the provincial capital. International search and rescue efforts in ensuing days were hampered by severe weather with waves as high as 33 feet (10 meters).
On November 23, the Argentine Navy reported that an event consistent with an explosion had been detected on the day San Juan lost communications by Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) seismic anomaly listening posts on Ascension Island and Crozet Islands. CTBTO had been asked to analyze data early in the search, but no information was available until November 22 when CTBTO provided information to the Argentine government through the Austrian ambassador in Austria (CTBTO is based in Vienna).
Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi said evidence showed “an anomalous event that was singular, short, violent and non-nuclear that was consistent with an explosion.”
It’s been nine days since San Juan went missing. Even if found today, it’s unlikely that there would be any survivors.
Families of crewmembers have been told there is no chance that any of the 44 San Juan sailors are alive.
I served on the USS Casimir Pulaski (SSBN 633) blue crew for 6 deterrent patrols from 1974 to 1977. Pulaski was a fleet ballistic missile (FBM) boat. — Mike Goad [former MM1(SS)]
The image of San Juan was rendered in Akvis Sketch using a photo released by the Argentina Navy.