A difficult search is underway as Argentinian authorities confirm they have lost communication with one of their Navy submarines. The Navy submarine has 44 crew members aboard and the last known position of the submarine was near the San Jorge Gulf, about 240 nautical miles from the Argentina shores.
There was no SOS warning received from the missing submarine but local media reported the communications were knocked out by a fire. A fire on a vessel at sea can catastrophic, especially for an underwater vessel like a submarine. The missing submarine is a German-built TR 1700 class diesel-electric craft according to the Navy. It was on a routine mission from a base in Ushia near the southern tip of the continent and was heading back to its home base of Mar Del Plata when the Navy lost communication with the submarine.
The Argentinian Navy was quick to dispel notions of a disaster and assured press the missing submarine does not constitute an emergency. Admiral Gabriel Gonzalez said, "We have a loss of communications. We are not talking of an emergency." The Navy also said there are four naval ships and three planes out searching for the missing watercraft. Land-based communications are also monitoring all possible frequencies of transmission in case the submarine is trying to get a message out.
The Submarine Force Command is keeping the family of the crew informed of any developments as a naval destroyer and a helicopter are also dispatched to the last known area of the submarine. The missing submarine constitutes 1/3 of the Argentinian Navy's entire submarine force.
The U.S. Southern Command is also monitoring the situation and released this statement, "We are coordinating closely with the U.S. State Department and our chain of command to be ready to assist if asked. As of this email, U.S. Southern Command does not have a role in the ongoing search and rescue effort. We join the international community is hoping for an outcome involving no loss of life or injuries to personnel."
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