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Trapped in the crushing depths of Davy Jones' Locker?


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Author Topic: Trapped in the crushing depths of Davy Jones' Locker?  (Read 15 times)
Kiwithrottlejockey
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« on: November 19, 2017, 01:10:13 pm »


from The Washington Post....

A submarine has vanished, launching a frantic search for 44 people on board

The Argentine navy said it could be a communications blackout caused by an electrical problem.
Family members feared it could be much worse.


By CLIVE R. WOOTSON Jr. | 11:50AM EST - Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Argentine Navy began a search on November 17th for the submarine San Juan after contact with it was lost two days previously. Forty-four sailors were aboard. — Photograph: Bloomberg.
The Argentine Navy began a search on November 17th for the submarine San Juan after contact with it was lost two days previously. Forty-four sailors were aboard.
 — Photograph: Bloomberg.


ARGENTINE authorities are scrambling to find a three-decade-old submarine that suddenly stopped communicating during a routine mission on Wednesday — an emergency authorities say could range from a fried electrical system to something much worse.

The diesel-electric ARA San Juan was returning to its base south of Buenos Aires after a routine mission to Ushuaia, near the southern tip of South America. Then, suddenly, it went silent.

According to the Associated Press, no one has been able to contact the sub or any of its 44 crew members since Wednesday, even though an international collection of rescuers are scanning all radio frequencies and scouring the waters near the San Juan's most recent ping.

Complicating matters: strong winds and high waves that were battering search-and-rescue ships.

The Argentine government had received logistical help from the governments of Britain, Chile and the United States, including NASA — other countries have also offered aid — but as of Saturday morning, no surface or visual contact had been made, the Associated Press reported.

The sub has multiple ways of communicating. It has ample food and oxygen, the Argentine navy said, and its protocol is to surface if there's a communications blackout.

“The last position [registered] was two days ago,” navy spokesman Enrique Balbi said, according to the Associated Press. “Without wanting to be alarmist or overdramatic, the facts are that no form of communications could be established between the vessel and its command, even with the alternative methods that the submarine has.

“What we interpret is that there must have been a serious problem with the communications [infrastructure] or with the electrical supply, cables, antennae or other equipment.”

Worried relatives had gathered at the submarine's base, where they hoped to hear the first updates.

“We are praying to God and asking that all Argentines help us to pray that they keep navigating and that they can be found,” Claudio Rodriguez, the brother of one of the crew members, told the local Todo Noticias TV channel, according to the Associated Press. “We have faith that it's only a loss of communications.”

News of the stricken submarine had even reached the Vatican. Pope Francis, an Argentina native and the former archbishop of Buenos Aires, offered his “fervent prayers for the 44 officers aboard the ARA San Juan” in a message released on his behalf on Saturday by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican's secretary of state, according to CNN. Francis “asks that his closeness be conveyed to their families and to the military and civil authorities of the country in these difficult moments.”

Those family members and the Argentine government were facing a cruel fact of submarine life. The vessels are often among a country's most expensive and complex military assets — and, during accidents or times of crisis, their most vulnerable.

Over the years,  several submarines have vanished, often igniting mysteries that lasted decades.

On May 27th, 1968, the USS Scorpion failed to return to port, unexplainedly sinking 11,220 feet beneath the Atlantic Ocean along with its 99 crewmen and two nuclear torpedoes, according to USA Today. A Navy inquiry found that the cause of the sinking “cannot be definitively ascertained” — and the cause of the sub's demise still remains fuzzy decades later.

Theories abound, of course: a torpedo self-fired into the ship, destroying it from the inside, or a battery exploded, inflicting critical damage. The Navy has routinely tested the water around the ship for radioactivity, according to USA Today, but has denied a proposal by civilian marine disaster experts to investigate the wreckage.

In August 2000, the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk suddenly sank during a planned and closely monitored Russian military exercise, killing all 188 sailors aboard, according to The New York Times. It was hours before the Russian government even knew something was amiss.

The most likely explanation was that fuel in a torpedo detonated, setting off a chain reaction in a sub once deemed unsinkable. The Russians have said the Kursk used an outdated and unstable hydrogen peroxide propellant.

Conspiracy theories abound, and at least one real-life horror story was verified: Not all of the sailors died in the initial blast, according to The New York Times.

For hours, some fought fruitlessly to survive.

“13:15,” Lieutenant Captain Dimitri Kolesniko, the commander of the turbine room wrote, noting the military time. “All personnel from compartments six, seven and eight moved to the ninth. There are 23 of us here. We have made this decision as a result of the accident. None of us can get out.”


• Cleve Wootson is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Argentine submarine missing with 44 aboard

 • Nuclear sub sailors fired after ‘absolutely disgraceful’ parties with a prostitute and cocaine

 • A military historian's find could unlock the mystery of 136 sailors missing since World War II


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/11/18/a-submarine-has-vanished-launching-a-frantic-search-for-44-people-on-board
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2017, 05:59:52 pm »


from The Washington Post....

Sound ‘consistent with an explosion’ heard near
missing Argentine sub's last known location


Officials do not know what caused the explosion, and
there's no evidence that the vessel had been attacked.


By KIRSTINE PHILLIPS | 3:47PM EST — Thursday, November 23, 2017

A relative of one of the 44 crew members on the missing Argentine submarine is comforted outside Argentina's naval base in Mar del Plata, on the Atlantic coast south of Buenos Aires, on Thursday. — Photograph: Eitan Abramovich/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
A relative of one of the 44 crew members on the missing Argentine submarine is comforted outside Argentina's naval base in Mar del Plata,
on the Atlantic coast south of Buenos Aires, on Thursday. — Photograph: Eitan Abramovich/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.


A SOUND detected near the last known location of an Argentine navy submarine carrying 44 crew members is believed to have come from an explosion.

Enrique Balbi, spokesman for the Argentine navy, told reporters at a news conference on Thursday that officials have found evidence showing that the abnormal sound, which was detected 30 miles north of the submarine's last-known location, was “singular, short, violent and non-nuclear” and “consistent with an explosion,” the Associated Press reported.

Balbi also said that officials do not know what caused the explosion and that there's no evidence the vessel had been attacked.

The announcement is the clearest sign of what may have happened to the ARA San Juan, which vanished a week ago off the coast of Patagonia. The submarine was supposed to arrive on Monday at the Mar del Plata naval base, about 250 miles southeast of Buenos Aires.

If the vessel remained intact, its crew would have only enough oxygen to survive submerged for a little more than a week.

The United States, Britain, Brazil and Chile have sent teams of searchers to try to locate the vessel. The U.S. Navy has put more advanced resources into the Atlantic Ocean, including two unmanned underwater vehicles that use side-scan sonar to create images of large areas of the seafloor.

But the search has been stymied by 20-foot waves and winds near 50 mph, according to NPR.

Balbi told reporters on Thursday that six teams were continuing to look for the missing submarine near the San Jorge Gulf, about 270 miles from the Argentine coast, CNN reported.

Earlier, officials were working to determine whether phone calls recorded from the area near the San Juan's last known location may have come from the vessel, The New York Times reported. But the Argentine defense minister later said the calls did not come from the submarine.

Argentine officials first learned about the noise on Wednesday, Balbi told reporters. Argentine navy ships and aircraft from the United States and Brazil were then sent to check out the sound.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, based in Vienna, also said on Thursday that two of its hydroacoustic stations detected an “unusual signal” near the submarine's last known location.

The signal was detected at 1:51 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time (8:51 a.m. Eastern) on November 15th, when Argentine officials lost contact with the San Juan, the organization said.

Hydroacoustic stations are part of the organization's monitoring system that keeps track of signs of nuclear explosions around the globe.

The news of a possible explosion drove some family members at the base to tears, according to the Associated Press. Photos show relatives of crew members hugging and consoling each other. Some can be seen collapsing to the ground.

Others responded with anger.

“They sent a piece of crap to sail,” Itati Leguizamon, the wife of submarine crew member German Suarez, told the Associated Press. “They inaugurated a submarine with a coat of paint and a flag in 2014, but without any equipment inside. The navy is to blame for its 15 years of abandonment.”

The German-built diesel-electric submarine joined the Argentine navy fleet in 1985 and was upgraded a few years ago.


Cleve R. Wootson contributed to this article.

• Kristine Phillips is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Argentine submarine missing with 44 aboard

 • Hope dwindles for families of lost Argentina submarine crew

 • Search for a missing submarine is stymied by new challenges: 20-foot waves and 50 mph winds


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/11/23/sound-consistent-with-an-explosion-heard-near-missing-argentine-subs-last-known-location
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2017, 06:00:06 pm »


from the Los Angeles Times....

Argentina says missing submarine suffered explosion
but doesn't know the crew's fate


By ANDRES D'ALESSANDRO and CHRIS KRAUL | 4:45PM PST - Thursday, November 23, 2017

Relatives and comrades of 44 crew members of a missing Argentine submarine grieve at the navy base in Mar del Plata, south of Buenos Aires, on November 23rd, 2017. — Photograph: Eitan Abramovich/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
Relatives and comrades of 44 crew members of a missing Argentine submarine grieve at the navy base in Mar del Plata,
south of Buenos Aires, on November 23rd, 2017. — Photograph: Eitan Abramovich/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.


AN international flotilla of ships and several high-tech aircraft searching for a missing Argentine submarine focused on an area in the southern Atlantic Ocean on Thursday after authorities confirmed acoustical evidence of an explosion coming from the lost vessel with 44 crew members aboard.

The Argentine navy confirmed on Thursday that its missing submarine, the San Juan, experienced an explosion November 15th, three hours after Captain Pedro Fernandez called to report a power system failure. The data also pinpointed the site of the explosion as close to the point of last contact.

But Argentine navy spokesman Captain Enrique Balbi had no information on the fate of the 44 crew members. Nor has the submarine been located, as no trace including wreckage has turned up yet.

“There was an anomalous event [which was] unusual, short, violent and nonnuclear, consistent with an explosion,” Balbi said at a news conference in Buenos Aires, the capital.

Assuming that the submarine remained intact after the blast and is resting on the ocean floor, the ship had only a seven-day supply of oxygen, which may have run out on Wednesday. Also complicating a rescue are the ocean depths ranging from 600 to 9,000 feet in the area of the explosion.

The blast occurred in waters 240 miles east of the Valdes Peninsula in Argentina's Chubut province. The explosion was detected less than 40 miles from where Fernandez, the submarine's captain, last communicated with onshore authorities and mentioned problems with the ship's battery system.

Balbi explained the delay in the announcement by saying that only on Wednesday did his government receive confirmation of the explosion from the U.S. Navy, which received and analyzed the data collected from its sonar technology. Separate confirmation came on Thursday morning from an Austrian-based agency that monitors for violations of the global ban on nuclear testing.

Family members, who said they were told the news shortly before the Thursday morning news conference, said they were enraged by the Argentine navy's handling of the information.

“Now there is no hope. We are furious. They are shameless,” said Itati Leguizamon, wife of the submarine's radar specialist German Oscar Suarez, speaking of navy officials. She spoke to reporters at the entrance of the Mar del Plata naval station, about 250 miles south of Buenos Aires. “They lied to us. How are they not going to know [before now] that there was an explosion.”

Maria Rosa Belcastro, mother of crew member Lt. Fernando Vicente Villareal, told TN news cable channel that since hearing of the explosion, she has lost all hope of seeing her 38-year-old son, who is married and has a 3-year-old daughter. “I believe my son will not be returning.”

Both the U.S. and Austrian reports placed the location of the explosion in roughly the same area.

The U.S. Navy has dispatched two specialized aircraft capable of detecting submarines below or above the ocean surface, as well as specialized manned and unmanned underwater vehicles capable of cutting into the submarine and extracting the crew.

The submarine disappeared as it cruised from Ushuaia in Argentina's southern extremity toward the Mar del Plata naval base. The disappearance prompted assistance from 13 nations, including Russia, Britain, Peru, Brazil and France in addition to the U.S.

Despite diminishing odds, the search party, which is being led by Argentine and U.S. Navy search-and-rescue specialists and includes assets lent by a dozen other nations, remains focused on finding the sub and crew, said U.S. Navy Cmander Erik Reynolds, spokesman for the Southern Command at Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Florida.

“We are still in a search-and-rescue mode and going on the premise we will find sailors and rescue them,” Reynolds said. “As time goes on, it's getting harder after eight days since the last contact, but everyone is working with hope and as much optimism as they can.”

In addition to the two P-8 Poseidon submarine-hunting aircraft, the U.S. also lent two manned underwater rescue vehicles, one of which can descend to depths of 2,000 feet to rescue as many as 16 people at a time, Reynolds said.

The Navy has also sent four unmanned underwater search units capable of using sophisticated sonar technology to locate underwater “anomalies” including submarines. Reynolds said 200 U.S. Navy personnel are involved in the search, which is headquartered in the coastal city of Comodoro Rivadavia in Argentina's Patagonia region.

The Navy research vessel Atlantis, which serves as a support vessel for underwater operations and which is outfitted with heavy cranes, is also in the area.


Special correspondents Andres D'Alessandro and Chris Kraul reported from Buenos Aires and Bogota, Colombia, respectively.

• Andres D'Alessandro is a special correspondent to the Los Angeles Times and is the executive director of the Association of Argentine Press Companies (ADEPA).

• Chris Kraul covers South America for the Los Angeles Times from his base in Bogota, Colombia. He joined the paper in 1987 and was business editor of the San Diego edition until it closed in 1992. He then began covering the border and Mexican economies until his assignment to the L.A. Times' Mexico City bureau in 2001. He reopened the paper's Bogota bureau in 2006. He has also covered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is a graduate of the University of South Florida and also has been a reporter at the San Jose Mercury News, San Diego Union-Tribune and the San Diego Business Journal.

http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-argentina-missing-submarine-20171123-story.html
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