BUENOS AIRES – The Argentine Navy confirmed that the noise detected on Monday in the South Atlantic area was not from the ARA San Juan, an Argentine submarine with 44 crew members on board which has lost contact with the Navy since five days.
“That noise was analyzed, the acoustic signature, and it does not correspond to a submarine, to a pattern of what would be hull blows in the Morse system, it is a continuous, constant noise, which could be biological noise,” Navy Spokesperson Captain Enrique Balbi said in a statement at the Navy headquarters in Buenos Aires.
It was reported Monday afternoon that several boats participating in the search of the submarine detected a “noise” that could belong to the missing vessel some 360 kilometers from the Valdes Peninsula, in Argentine Patagonia, where the Atlantic Ocean has an average depth of 200 meters.
The area coincides with the path where the missing submarine, which embarked with 44 crew members aboard from the southern port of Ushuaia, was supposed to pass it made its way back to the base in Mar del Plata.
A US Navy submarine-detection aircraft, which had been deployed in the area where the sound occurred, recorded the noise and sent it to the search and rescue coordination center at the naval base for further analysis, which then concluded that the noise did not bear any link with the missing submarine.
However, the Navy spokesperson said that it is going to conduct a thorough search in that area, taking advantage of the two research vessels of the Navy and a Brazilian polar ship, so as to make sure that noise was really not from the missing submarine.
The Navy announced on Nov. 17 that the missing submarine last reported its position at dawn on Nov. 15. So, after a reasonable period of time without communication with the vessel, the Navy decided to activate the search protocol in the late afternoon of Nov. 16.
On Nov. 18, the Ministry of Defense said that satellite calls registered on that same day could have come from the missing submarine, but the Navy later denied such speculation on Monday.
Argentine President Mauricio Macri traveled Monday morning to Mar del Plata, where the submarine’s base of operations is located, to monitor the situation and support the families of the 44 crew members on the missing submarine.