Undersea ‘Banging Noises’ Not From Sub, Argentine Navy Says
Enlarge this picture toggle caption Paul Byrne/AP Paul Byrne/AP
Yet another false alarm in the seek out an Argentine submarine with 44 crew members which has been missing for almost weekly: a hopeful sound picked up by two vessels owning a search pattern near to the sub’s last known posture was likely the effect of a “biological” source – meaning a sea creature, not really a submersible.
NPR’s Philip Reeves reviews that the audio, detected by Argentine ships about 220 kilometers from the coast of Patagonia at a good depth of about 650 feet, was initially thought possibly to be produced by crew participants hammering on the sub’s hull to attract attention.
“We all had anticipation,” Argentine Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi explained. “Some sources were saying that was banging on the hull in Morse code signals.”
In fact, the sound does not match a submarine, he explained. Instead, “it may have been a noises from a living thing.”
The last confirmed signal from the submarine, ARA San Juan, was picked up on Wednesday – it had been to report a problem.
“The vessel surfaced and it reported a breakdown, which explains why its [shore] command ordered it to return to foundation,” naval commander Gabriel Galeazzi said. “A warship includes a large amount of backup systems, to allow it to move from one to another when there exists a breakdown.”
Argentina and in least six other countries, including the United States, have dispatched ships and planes to the region to search for the German-built, diesel-electric power powered submarine. Britain, with whom Argentina fought a getting rid of battle in 1982 for control of the Falkland Islands (which Argentina calls Isla Malvinas) dispatched HMS Protector to join the search flotilla.
The submarine, among three in the Argentine Navy, was time for its base from a routine patrol near to the southern tip of SOUTH USA to interdict against the law fishing when it suddenly went silent on Wednesday.
As The New York Times reviews, “From December to April, the high time of year for fishing, as much as 450 fishing boats from China, South Korea, Taiwan and Spain flock to the region to dredge up Argentine shortfin squid, said Milko Schwartzman, a marine conservation expert who has studied the trade. Illegal angling in the region generates around $1 billion each year, [Balbi] said.”
Stormy weather, with 26-foot waves on the frequently stormy Southern Atlantic Ocean, were hampering search efforts. Those conditions aren’t expected to boost until at least Sunday.
Over the weekend, officials explained they believed they had received several truncated satellite television calls from the submarine that they hoped may help pinpoint its location. However the navy after concluded the signals were unlikely to attended from the sub.
The San Juan entered service in the Argentine Navy in 1985, but underwent an extensive “mid-life update” from 2008 to 2013 – a refit that was reportedly plagued by delays because of a shortage of funds.