Search For Missing Argentine Submariners Enters Critical Phase…

According to officials who are familiar with the characteristics of the missing submarine, if submerged, there is approximately a seven day supply of oxygen.  The vessel has been missing since November 15th….  President Trump tweeted about it today:

MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina/BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – The search for an Argentine navy submarine missing in the South Atlantic for one week reached a “critical phase” on Wednesday as the 44 crew on board could be running low on oxygen, a navy spokesman said.

Dozens of planes and boats were searching for the ARA San Juan, a mission that has plunged relatives of the sailors into an anguished wait for news and transfixed the South American country of 44 million people.

If the German-built submarine, in service for more than three decades, had sunk or was otherwise unable to rise to the surface since it gave its last location on Nov. 15, it would be using up the last of its seven-day oxygen supply.

“We are in the critical phase…particularly with respect to oxygen,” navy spokesman Enrique Balbi told reporters. “There has been no contact with anything that could be the San Juan submarine.”  (read more)

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58 Responses to Search For Missing Argentine Submariners Enters Critical Phase…

  1. Sad..
    hopefully they will be recovered / remembered ..

    Liked by 40 people

  2. Stringy theory says:

    If it sank in water deeper than the pressure hull’s crush depth, oxygen won’t be an issue.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. POP says:

    This doesn’t auger well for the ability to find a North Korean diesel missile sub sitting on the bottom off Los Angeles.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Publius2016 says:

    If someone stole the submarine, what would they use it for and how would they do it? With current technology, the old u boats could be replicated so doubtful…


  5. POP says:

    Alas, it’s likely lost. The sub could eject some sort of jury rigged VHF aerial on a float that could be used to transmit on 121.5 in shallow (70 metre) water. It would carry a floating ELB, this is easily deployed. Lots of deliberately ejected floating bedding lifejackets etc would have been heaven for searching aircraft on its planned route, didn’t happen.

    Liked by 6 people

    • 100% YOOPER says:

      I believe you are right Pop, but still holding out hope.

      Liked by 1 person

    • prenanny says:

      Are you a submariner? would it be plausible to discharge some of their ballistics in order to identify their location? There must be procedures for such events.
      Praying they are rescued and cyber hugs to their Families.

      Liked by 2 people

      • POP says:

        It’s a diesel sub, be carrying oil, easily discharged, an oil slick is one of the best aerial search indicators from altitude.
        Munitions? Unlikely.

        Liked by 2 people

        • prenanny says:

          Thank you POP have a Blessed Thanksgiving.

          Liked by 2 people

        • H.R. says:

          You’re right about the oil, POP, but in 20′-30′ seas? Would an oil discharge even be visible?


        • CC says:

          Navy folks…what say you?

          I am an old sub wife of the early 80’s, just a girl too so my mechanical knowledge is limited….and a Canal Zone Brat…first, the diesel subs make a lot of noise if I am not mistaken? That should help find them? Unless they are out of fuel?

          Now for the conspiracy part….back in the day in the old Canal Zone, the Navy operated a huge ‘antenna farm’ which we Zonians were told was for the tracking and communication with our submarine fleet.

          I don’t know if it has been dismantled since the Panama Canal Treaty was implemented on 10-01-1979….and truthfully don’t know if that ‘antenna farm’ was for what we were told. One thing I remember, it was huge…with round Doppler type structures, too, along with tall antenna structures…we just accepted it and went about our business.

          Would our surveillance systems be able to locate them? And if so, why haven’t they? I know our newer subs are so highly technical…would the newer subs make the German model obsolete, and not be able to be located? Then I ask, what about all the satellites in space…? Surely there is a method to be able to locate this sub?

          My heart is breaking over this story…I do hope and pray it ends well.

          Liked by 1 person

          • holmegm says:

            Diesels are super quiet when they are not running the diesel … and if they could snorkel and diesel, then they could probably surface.

            Subs are hard to find by design. If you are lucky you can hear something by passive listening, but they are designed to be quiet for that very reason. If you use active sonar and are close enough you can ping them (i.e. “see” them with active sonar). They can also be found with magnetic anomaly detectors, but I’m not sure at what range.


      • SubsafeKev says:

        From a former submariner: Yes, given enough time they could discharge floating material through their torpedo tubes. As far radio communications, all submarines need to have an antennae (either fixed mast or floating) deployed at or very near the surface for sending/receiving signals. I’m afraid that due to the location of the search area (i.e., far from the coastline) I suspect that they were operating in waters deeper than their maximum operating depth (i.e., “crush depth”). If the initial emergency resulted in an unintentional descent, then there wouldn’t be time to deploy a floating antennae or shoot a ‘water slug’ with flotsam out a torpedo tube. We’re talking seconds here in this type of (unintentional descent) situation. Rough surface waters would help to disperse/hide an oil slick and the ‘crushing’ of the hull might not lead to an oil leak or flotsam right away, depending on how and where the hull first breached. The initial reports of battery problems is disturbing also as even with diesel power, a battery can explode and/or catch fire and a bad battery can interfere with the ships propulsion, as well as affecting every other dynamic system on board…and the diesel is only operational at/near the surface. As bad as it looks, I hope and pray that a miracle will occur and those brave souls will return to their families safe and sound.


  6. Eris says:

    The weather in the search area is bad with up to 20 foot waves up until yesterday. It’s suppose to get worse again soon too.


  7. NJF says:

    How does these even happen???

    Hopefullly there will be a happy outcome.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maquis says: can sink, it’s not much of a stretch to recognize that subs can fail to resurface. It’s a dangerous job.

      Liked by 2 people

    • rf121 says:

      We have lost our share over the years. I had a sub buddy who told me that for new crew members they would show them a string tied tight between two bunks before the sub descended. As the sub went down the string would go slack as the pressure on the hull increased. No thanks.

      Liked by 5 people

      • diogenes says:

        That’s been used in more submarine movies than I can recall as well. It’s truly incredible the forces that nature can exert. I hope they find these missing submariners, or at least evidence of what happened to that boat so their families can have closure.

        Liked by 3 people

  8. fleporeblog says:

    May God be with the sailors and their families in this time of need!

    Liked by 16 people

  9. Deborah @UnTamedInSD says:

    Prayers for these sailors and their families.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. freq says:

    hunt for ‘octubre rojo’…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. applevista says:

    What in the world does Argentina need a submarine anyway? Probably some old boat we threw-away long ago.


    • prenanny says:

      30 year old German sub has not been serviced since 2008,launched in 1983
      according to article Sundance linked.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Texian says:

        Proper continual maintenance is mandatory. Check, recheck.. then check again.. down to the last detail. Make damn sure your team members are doing the same thing. Its got to be right when going into space.. It is a matter of life or death..

        In a space environment, any problem, no matter how small must be dealt with immediately – and with the right decision – the first time. If there is a failure by a team member in the decision process, more often than not it will have the potential to start a cascade of unintended events rapidly increasing in magnitude to a point that it will surpass the ability of the crew to mitigate them.. Then what is called a “major malfunction” will occur..

        That is why proper continual maintenance is mandatory. Check, recheck.. then check again.. Down to the last detail.. and make damn sure your team members are doing the same thing..

        Liked by 4 people

      • georgiafl says:

        This is a travesty and wrong for a government to send 45 good men out in such a vessel.


        Liked by 3 people

        • vexedmi says:

          Indeed! Old German subs had crush depths or collapse depths of 660 to 920 feet. If procedures were not followed…well you get the picture.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Maquis says:

          Our B-52s are planned to fly to the EIGHTY year mark, far beyond their design limits. This is what we get for having fools ignore the need for continual development and production of vital weapon systems.

          Bush41 had his Sec Def, Dick Cheney, begin the “Post Cold War” draw-down, Clinton absolutely ravaged the Services in order to reap the “Cold War Dividend.”

          Bush43’s Sec Def Rumsfeld, over-seen by Darth Cheney, began our longest wars with a CEO’s stingy strategy of stretching forces thin and neglecting the personnel build-up we needed to join the Fourteen-Hundred Year War.



          Liked by 1 person

          • CC says:

            My thoughts are, on the above comments…these were business people with a managerial military background…financial decision makers in the business end…we must never forget that business is in business to make money…hence short cuts, reduced maintenance, reduced numbers in the military…all to find extra money for the ‘vast industrial military complex’….


    • tonyE says:

      Those Chileans are tough hombres, you know?


    • snailmailtrucker says:

      Did you read the article ?

      It’s a German made Sub.


    • olderwiser21 says:

      My thoughts exactly, Apple – what the heck does Argentina need with a submarine???


  12. Bacall says:

    Praying for the submariners safe return. It brings to mind the Chilean coal miners who were trapped underground for 69 days. As a former underground coal miner I thought at the time it was a nearly hopeless cause because it was such a long time underground, a deep mine and a great distance from the entrance. Yet they were saved in large part because they took care of each other, ensuring no one was left behind. Plus the US coal miners played a magnificent role in rescue.

    Liked by 8 people

    • Maquis says:

      I think of that often. American ingenuity and skill, a remarkable discipline and will to live on the part of the miners, and the Blessings of Providence combined to create an epic story with a happy ending.

      Deep underground, deep underwater, both are Spooky as Hell and my hat’s off to those who thusly dare.

      Liked by 5 people

  13. 100% YOOPER says:

    This touches me dearly as I have an extreme fear of deep water and I have anxiety of thinking of these brave men and woman. I can only imagine what feelings they are going through.

    May God let them be found in time 🙏

    Liked by 5 people

    • H.R. says:

      Yooper, my sentiments exactly. I have an engineering background and have worked enough textbook exercises related to water pressure to understand the amazing power of water, be it flow or depth. I am in fear and awe of the amazing power of water in the extremes.

      My only experience with submarines is via movies or documentaries. I would love to tour a submarine should I ever be visiting a port where a submarine tour is available.

      Back to your comment; they are stuck, they are helpless, they’re in God’s hands for whatever He holds for them.

      I posted on another thread about the lost sub that I was awaiting good news, but it it is not within my power to do anything. We will never understand His purpose, but it is in God’s hands whether or not the sailors will survive this.


  14. Plain Jane says:

    Lord, God, Father Almighty, in your mercy please hear the call of all people who are begging you to rescue those on that submarine. Please have pity on them and their loved ones. We ask this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

    There are 4 prominent Patron Sts. of hopeless cases one of which is St. Philomena. She is one of the earliest known Christian martyrs. Her tomb was discovered in ancient Roman catacombs.

    I will pray and ask for her to pray also for the safe rescue of the submariners. I chose her because “She was scourged, thrown into a river with an anchor around her neck, and shot through with arrows. Miraculously surviving all these attempts on her life, she was finally beheaded.”

    Liked by 7 people

  15. Abster says:

    I am praying for a miracle.

    Liked by 5 people

  16. zephyrbreeze says:

    If God saved us from every mistake and failing, nothing in our lives would ever see improvements. God sees all. Justice will come to all. This is a horrible tragedy unfolding. God bless them, and comfort them.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Wayne Robinson says:

    My aged father in law Lee Berg was a submariner at end of WW2 . He later became LEO . He made it to retirement and old age . It takes a certain kinda man to always gravitate to extremely stressful kinds of work . Thank God for these men America needs more just like him .

    Liked by 6 people

  18. Keln says:

    The problem is never the supply of oxygen. It is the ability to remove Carbon Dioxide. They likely have broken out the CO2 scrubber canisters, but you can only carry so much of that stuff. Without the actual scrubbers online, if this is a situation where they have lost power, they can’t remove the CO2 for a full 7 days most likely. And since it’s a diesel sub, even if they had not had an electrical problem, their batteries could not run the main scrubbers for that long without being able to snorkel to recharge.

    I don’t know their full capabilities, but I can say on an LA class sub that I was on, we didn’t have 7 days worth of CO2 removal on board. You can easily carry that much oxygen, but not the amount of CO2 absorbent you would need, since absorbent takes up far more volume than just a gas or a reaction agent that releases oxygen.

    I hate to say it, but if they haven’t been found by now, they won’t be, except as a grave by divers. I never discount a miracle happening, but that is what it would take at this point. There are a lot of tricks a sub can use to signal its location, and the fact that nothing has been seen so far tells me they were lost at sea, hopefully rather quickly. Worst case is, they are sitting at the bottom of the drink hoping someone finds them, while CO2 continues to build. They’ll fall asleep and never wake up if that is the case.

    Submarines are meant to not be found. And that is a problem in this scenario.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Texian says:

      Correct, CO2 scrubbers.. used them in our diving bells..

      Yes, it is regretful to say.. time is running very slim now.. very tragic.. We joked a couple of times about such a fcked up situation.. severed cable and the bell falls to the bottom.. one can survive twice as long as two could, and then both of us glance at our dive knifes.. Nah, fck it.. all or none.. we live as a team, we dive as team.. and we die as a team..


  19. POP says:

    Look, if these fellows were in relatively shallow water ( 220′) some would at least try an ascent with breathing apparatus before the O2 ran out…..nothing to lose. They would carry a beacon from their own rafts and be rapidly found. This indicates much greater depth than that being hawked about as likely


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