Argentine Navy head fired after ARA San Juan submarine disappearance

Argentina has fired the head of the country’s navy in what is the first known disciplinary action related to the vanishing of submarine ARA San Juan in November this year.

Argentine Navy Admiral Marcelo Eduardo Hipólito Srur was relieved by the country’s defense minister, a government spokesperson said on December 16.

The submarine and her crew of 44 were last heard of on November 15 when they reported a battery short circuit. The issue was resolved and the submarine was ordered to return to her base in Mar del Plata. The submarine went missing shortly thereafter.

The Argentine Navy on November 24 confirmed that a so-called “hydroacoustic anomaly” – recorded on November 15 around the time ARA San Juan last communicated – was determined to be an explosion aboard the submarine.

An international search and rescue mission for survivors ended on November 30 as the diesel-electric submarines of the type can only stay submerged for up to ten days before they run out of oxygen.

Search efforts with specialized deep ocean submersibles are still underway and the submarine is yet to be located.

ARA San Juan was a TR-1700-class diesel-electric submarine built by Germany’s Thyssen Nordseewerke and delivered to Argentina in 1985. The submarine returned to service in 2014 after several years of repairs.