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U.S. Underwater Mapping Firm Finds Wreckage of Missing Argentine Sub

Sonar images released by the Argentine Armada of the missing ARA San Juan attack submarine.

After a year-long search, the wreckage of the missing Argentine submarine ARA San Juan (S-42) was found late Friday night by Texas-based underwater mapping firm Ocean Infinity.

San Juan’s last communication occurred on November 15, 2017. The sub was found resting in a ravine about 3,000 feet below the surface, about 323 nautical miles east of Comodoro Rivadavia in the Atlantic Ocean, according to a statement released by Ocean Infinity.

“Our thoughts are with the many families affected by this terrible tragedy. We sincerely hope that locating the resting place of the ARA San Juan will be of some comfort to them at what must be a profoundly difficult time. Furthermore, we hope our work will lead to their questions being answered and lessons learned which help to prevent anything similar from happening again,” Oliver Plunkett, Ocean Infinity chief executive, said in the statement.

San Juan’s crew of 44 sailors were presumed dead about 15 days after the German-made TR-1700 submarine with diesel and battery power went missing. The Argentine Armada continued searching for the wreckage, and Ocean Infinity, according to media reports, is due to receive a $7.5 million bonus for finding the sub.

Ocean Infinity was brought to help the search because of the advanced sensors and imagery it employs on its fleet of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). The firm was nearing the end of the first of two contracted 60-day search windows when it zeroed in on a promising sonar hit Friday afternoon.

Data retrieved from Ocean Infinity’s five AUVs led searchers to position their research vessel Seabed Constructor over a shape described as nearly 200 feet long – roughly the size of San Juan.

Ocean Infinity technicians download data from an AUV during the search for ARA San Juan (S-42). Argentine Armada photo.

At 11 p.m. local time, Ocean Infinity launched a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV), which was tethered to Seabed Constructor, to get better images of the site.

The Ocean Infinity team found San Juan on the part of the ocean floor near where the continental shelf drops off. Searchers had several clues to follow, such as where the sub was when it reported water had entered through its snorkel and shorted out batteries, the weather and current conditions of the day. An underwater explosion in the area, detected by international anti-nuclear proliferation monitors, was determined non-nuclear and long suspected to be an important clue.

However, challenging underwater terrain full of large rocks, trenches, and a steep drop-off the continental shelf complicated the search, Plunkett told USNI News in a recent interview.

“There’s some quite interesting sea life and geographical features. It’s extraordinary how many submarine-shaped and -sized rocks are down there,” Plunkett previously said. “There’ve been a number of times the guys on the ship got excited because there’s something 40 meters long, 5 meters wide, 6 meters high, and it’s turned out to be wrong. It’s truly astonishing.”

When Ocean Infinity team found promising locations to search, the team would generally do one of two things – either send an AUV back to the site, but for a much closer look, or send the ROV which provides live video and imagery of the site. Seabed Constructor has a crew of about 40 sailors and technicians.

Image of seabed searched by Ocean Infinity AUVs. The straight colored lines mark AUV search patterns. Argentine Armada photo.

However, near midnight on Friday, images captured by the ROV sent from Seabed Constructor confirmed this sonar hit was indeed the missing San Juan.

The Argentine Armada quickly announced the finding on its website and in tweets that Ocean Infinity had found San Juan. Three Argentine Naval officers and four family members of the lost submarine crew were onboard Seabed Constructor when the sub was located, according to the Argentine Navy.

Plunkett, in his statement released Saturday, thanked the Argentine Navy, the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy, and the U.S. Navy’s Supervisor of Salvage and Diving for support including providing technical information about how submarines operate underwater and with providing expert analysis of data recovered from the AUVs.

  • Ed L

    And they rest in Peace

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Well done. Now if the cause can be determined, all the better.

    • Oskar

      How?

      It’s doubtful they’ll recover it.

      Too deep and too much wreckage.

      • Chesapeakeguy

        Yes, but perhaps, as in ‘maybe’, that wreckage can provide some clues as to what befell her. The world-wide sub community would certainly want to know so that potential lessons can be learned and applied. Not to mention closure for the families and loved ones involved. Right now there are reports of an explosion being involved. There are some pretty smart people who will be investigating this. While the definitive cause might not be arrived at, perhaps the cause(s) can be narrowed down.

        • Oskar

          No, it won’t happen.

          Most sub sinkings aren’t recovered.

          Scorpion, Thresher, Dakar, K-129, K-278, etc…

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Who has said anything about ‘recovering’ it? I haven’t, and I haven’t seen any other posts calling for that. But the wreckage MIGHT offer some clues as to what happened. It’s not outside the realm of possibilities that some small pieces of the wreckage can be brought up, but we will have to see if that is decided and acted on. None the less, the wreckage of some of the subs you mentioned, specifically Thresher and Scorpion, were located, and efforts were made to determine the cause, though nothing definitive and definite was ever arrived at. And please read the original post you replied to. I was quite clear in stating “…IF the cause can be determined, all the better”.

          • Duane

            As you mentioned, finding a sub wreck rarely if ever determines the cause of its sinking, unless it is obvious battle damage from a shell, depth charge, or torpedo attack. Internal systems failures are virtually impossible to troubleshoot remotely absent recovery of most or all of the wreck.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Yes indeed. Given the report of a large explosion being detected, if such an event significantly ruptured the hull, perhaps, as in maybe, determinations can be made as to where within the hull the explosion happened, and hence what caused it. But to me that does seem to be a long shot here.

          • Oskar

            Implosion.

          • Secundius

            IF a Detonation takes place [INSIDE] a Pressure Vessel at one atmosphere while Under Water. Is that considered and “Explosion” or an “Implosion…

          • Oskar

            Shoo.

            Anything that’s underwater, and breeches it’s integrity, will implode.

          • Secundius

            Even “IF” the Explosive Force within is Forcing the Air Pressure [OUT] while the Surrounding Water Outside is Forcing the Water Pressure [IN]…

          • Oskar

            Implode…

          • Secundius

            So “Depth Charges” in WWII “Imploded” in order to SINK Submarines. Never heard that one before. Enlighten US…

          • Oskar

            So….depth charges are pressure vessels, are they?

            Never heard that one before.

            Enlighten US…

          • Secundius

            The US Navy and British Navy used either TNT or Torpex High Explosives in Depth Charges in WWII. Without a One Atmosphere Air Supply within the Explosive Warhead Section, there would have been NO Combustion of the Warhead. There’s NO Explosion without Combustion of some kind. Why do you think the US Navy flooded Ships Magazines and Aviation Gas Bunkerage with CO2 Gas before every battle. To prevent Combustion. A Depth Charge WON’T cumbust in a Watery Environment…

          • Oskar

            Keep squirming…

          • Secundius

            IF this does explain it, I don’t what will…

            ( https : // www . quora . com / How – does – implosion – and – explosion – differ )

          • Oskar

            How’s that crow taste?

            http:// scienceline. ucsb. edu/ getkey.php? key=1844

            “One easy situation to think about would be a submarine. There’s a whole bunch of water surrounding the submarine, and it’s pushing in on the metal hull, trying to get inside. This is because water is much more dense than the air inside the submarine, so it has a much greater pressure. The metal that makes up the submarine is very strong, and made in such a way to keep the water out. But if part of it breaks, the water will rush in, and if it tries to rush in quickly enough, it will make the submarine collapse, or implode.”

          • Secundius

            How was the Hull Joined? Was it Riveted or Welded! A riveted hull is much easier to Implode without an Explosive Force being applied…

          • Oskar

            Squirm away, lil’ fella…

          • Oskar

            You did.

            “Yes, but perhaps, as in ‘maybe’, that wreckage can provide some clues as to what befell her.”

            How else would they investigate the wreck?

          • Chesapeakeguy

            From utilizing UAVs to examine the wreckage up close, and POSSIBLY being able to bring up small pieces of it, via the same equipment. If an explosion blew it apart, evidence of such an explosion can be examined. They might not ever discover the cause, but maybe they will. nothing will be learned unless and until the investigations are completed.

          • Oskar

            “If an explosion blew it apart, evidence of such an explosion can be examined.”?

            Implosion.

            Things underwater, implode.

            Unless the wreck was salvaged, they’ll never know for sure, what the cause was.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            OK, one more time! If there is EVIDENCE that an explosion BLEW THE SUB APART, yes indeed, that evidence can be examined. The technology exists. If the hull did NOT contain said explosion, the experts might, MIGHT mind you, be able to determine or at least accurately postulate where within the sub that explosion took place, and hence make at least an educated guess as to whether the explosion resulted from the batteries exploding, a weapon cooking off, etc. What has been reported so far is indeed an ‘implosion’. So what? Anything that sinks far enough down in the ocean is going to be subject to forces that can crush it, if it is compartmentalized. But the the reason the wreckage will be examined IF THEY CAN is to attempt to determine what TRIGGERED the events that led to the ‘implosion’. It is common sense that such an effort would be made, again, IF those involved (in this case the Argentine Navy) commit the resources to doing so. That might not be a possibility at this time for them. And yes, it is worth noting that the USA has had 2 horrific sub disasters in 1963 and 1968 and despite every effort made to determine the causes by EXAMINING the wreckage as best as they could, NO definitive cause has ever been determined.

          • Oskar

            Once more, for the money shot!

            Things underwater, implode.

            What evidence?

            Here’s a hint.

            After things implode, the bits and pieces fall all over the place…

            “But the the reason the wreckage will be examined IF THEY CAN is to attempt to determine what TRIGGERED the events that led to the ‘implosion’.”

            If….attempt….

            Thanks for proving my point.

        • Da Facts

          They pretty much know the proximate cause. They have reporting that the snorkel either failed or was misoperated, water entered, shorted out the battery and there was an explosion. All aspects that are not unknown to past submarine operation. The exact initiating event may not be known. Some intel might be gatherable from ROV examination of the visable wrecked, like the condition of the snorkel.

          • Duane

            The calls reporting a snorkel system leak do not constitute a probable cause … it’s just a clue to what might have happened. All subs develop leaks from time to time, from as simple as a seawater valve that doesn’t seat properly, a shaft seal that leaks a little too much, a hatch seal that isn’t sealing perfectly, etc. Rarely a catastrophic failure occurs but for a variety of reasons, the sub is able to recover. We had one of those on my boat once … we recovered. The unfortunate rare boat that does not recover remains a mystery forever in most cases.

            A snorkel system leak is a significant clue, but nobody knows the cause, it is impossible to know the cause in most submarine sinkings.

            To this day we still don’t know precisely what happened even on the Thresher, despite the fact that a surface support ship was in underwater tel comms with the vessel as she went down, and its sonar operators heard various sounds as she went down. But the exact source(s) of the flooding of Thresher can never be known without recovering the vessel, and even then it still might be difficult to determine.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Maybe. But they dived after reporting the leak, and they were able to communicate several times after that. Their transmission reporting the snorkel leak was just after midnight, then they were able to send out voice and text messages at around 6 AM and 7:30 AM. Nothing in the messages released suggest any sort of emergency. But I get it that such things can get out of hand quite quickly.

        • Secundius

          According to gCaptain the Submarine “Partially” Imploded, when an Remote ROV was done…

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Well done. Now if the cause can be determined, all the better.

  • NavySubNuke

    Glad to see they have been found and the families can have some closure.
    I personally hope they leave the wreck as undisturbed as possible but I can understand if they choose to try to recover it.

    • Leroy

      Seeing how Argentina is broke, unless the Germans pay to recover it (no reason they should. Technical questions left unanswered means less legal liability that can be assigned – cold but a simple reality of the situation) … unless the Germans pay to recover it my guess is it will remain where it is. An undisturbed grave. As we all know, as we well know, the sea can be very unforgiving. RIP.

    • muzzleloader

      Recovering a wreck that deep would be a huge task and cost a heap of money, which Argentina could not afford.
      But as you said, at least the families of the crew can have the closure they deserve.

  • I’m gona suspect something happened to the batteries and welding when they did a major refit from 2008 to 2013. I suspect they welded the submarine wrong or used the wrong batteries for the submarine.

    • Oskar

      ???

      According to what evidence?

      • Look at the imposion

        • Oskar

          Hilarious!

          Look at WHAT, exactly?

        • Oskar

          Look at WHAT?

    • Duane

      The sub reported a leak in the snorkel system just two days prior to its going missing. The snorkel is a very large penetration of the pressure hull, so if the valve failed to shut and seat properly under submergence, a lot of flooding can take place. Once seawater flooding on a large scale takes place other bad things can happen, such as battery gassing, fires, explosions, asphyxiation, etc.

  • East Bound & Down

    Eternal Father, strong to save, whose arm hath bound the restless wave…..
    Rest in Peace, sailors.

  • DaSaint

    Glad they found it, and hope they leave it where it rests.
    Hope this brings some degree of closure to the families of the crew. May they all Rest In Peace.

    • Secundius

      Something NEW to the story!

      ( https : // gcaptain . com / argentine – sub – found – partially – imploded – after – yearlong – search )

  • THOR HAMMERSTRONG

    I wonder if the CIA has another Glomar Explorer type ship operational ?🤔

    • Oskar

      Why?

      This isn’t the Cold War and some secret SSB belonging to an adversary.

  • Marauder 2048

    German build quality ain’t what it used to be.

    • Duane

      It was a very old vessel, the builders aren’t responsible for upkeep. It was actually refurbished just five years ago, but again, all ships, and especially submarines, are in a constant battle against deterioration.

      The leaks reported by the sub a couple of days prior to going missing, certainly provide a clue as to what happened. The snorkel system was reported by the ship as leaking just before the sub went missing. Once that was observed, the correct action should have been to immediately surface and return home, but apparently not.

      • Chesapeakeguy

        I was wondering about that. The communications that have been reported (and I do think at this point we might not be getting ALL of the info) seemed to imply that the situation ‘was under control’, that the leak(s) must have been stemmed. There is a lot about this that at present doesn’t make sense.

        • NavySubNuke

          Seawater + Battery = Bad Things
          Chlorine gas is just the start. Wetted batteries also have this nasty habit of giving off hydrogen gas and then shorting out and releasing sparks to ignite it.
          The biggest mystery for me is why they dove with a wetted and shorted out out battery bank. The sea state must have been truly awful for them to risk that.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            And there in to me lies the real mystery. If a leak was happening and reported, I find it hard to believe that they would dive unless they had it under control, or if some other consideration reared its head and forced their hand. But yes, the sea state was reported as being quite bad, but the further communications from the sub’s commander didn’t indicate any emergency situation. Not that I know of anyway…

          • Duane

            We’ll never know, most likely, what happened and why.

            The snorkel system leak as reported is no more than a clue, the cause of the sinking could literally be anything … a slow leak on the snorkel system that rapidly escalated to rapid flooding … a battery fire or explosion … a torpedo warhead accidental detonation and/or sympathetic warhead cookoff (one of the causes postulated, but of course never proven, on the USS Scorpion sinking) … some other seawater system that leaked … a fire … a failure of the hydraulic system that controls diving planes, ventilation and exhaust valves, and ballast tank vents, coupled with a failed attempt to control the sub by hand controls …. on and on.

          • Duane

            Minor flooding in the battery compartment isn’t necessarily a very bad event. Unless one or more of the battery cell cases are cracked (which might be the result of a depth charging or a collision at sea), getting seawater into the cells would require severe flooding of the battery well, up to the level of the cell vents. That volume of flooding is getting to the point where it might result in loss of the ship anyway.

            All lead acid batteries evolve hydrogen gas when under heavy charging current – you are probably thinking of chlorine gas that results from mixing salt water with battery acid inside the cell (or in the bilge if one or more cells are cracked and leaking). Battery charges on diesel electric or nuke submarines are designed to control charging voltage and rates so as to avoid generating excessively high concentrations of H2 gas that gets anywhere near the lower explosive limit (LEL).

          • NavySubNuke

            It’s been a long time since I qualified battery charging line up officer but I seem to remember that our batteries, the old style ones anyway – they moved on to a new style shortly after I left, gave off hydrogen during high discharge rate events — we always were extra careful about hydrogen during our test discharges for example – as well as when they were charging.
            We know they had sea water in the ship and we know that sea water caused at least one battery bank to short out. I am not certain we will ever actually know more though the latest pictures show the submarine is actually in far better shape than I would have expected so who knows.
            It is just hard to imagine Chlorine getting to the point it built up enough to overwhelm the crew since you can smell that. Hydrogen on the other hand requires working H2 detectors and given the sea water intake and the short it is possible those detectors were not working.

          • Duane

            The TVG (temperature-voltage-gas) curves are well understood for every battery design, and the electricians make sure that they’re followed, under the watchful eye of the engineering officers, with the H2 detectors situated in multiple locations in the battery well.

            Chlorine gas if generated by an unintentional introduction of seawater is a potent killer, and unlike gassing from a charging battery, it is a catastrophic, unplanned, unmannaged event. Once the chlorine gas emission starts, there is little to do but try to stop the flooding and pump out the battery well bilge, and if the boat can at least get to snorkel depth, if not surface, ventilate the boat. Even emergency air breathing masks are of limited value, as chlorine gas is absorbed through the skin at higher concentrations.

            Assad has been regularly using chlorine gas munitions on his people in Syria, to devastating effects. It was also used in gas attacks in the first world war.

            We regularly drilled such accidents on our SSNs decades ago, and I assume that is still true today. Whether the Argentinians are properly drilled, and fully comprehend the risks, that’s a good question.

          • NavySubNuke

            Certainly seems plausible that the technicians were carefully watching the TVG curves for the shorted out battery bank they removed from service while the fact that the submarine suddenly smelled like a public swimming pool went unnoticed…..

          • Duane

            That’s a very silly thing to say, especially for someone who claims to be nuke submarine vet.

            Any chlorine gas generated inside a sub at sea is a catastrophic event, not something that, when it occurs,the crew sit around and say, “Hey, did you smell that?”

            To get chlorine gas generated in a sub requires massive flooding, up to the level of the vents located on top of the battery cells, which by itself is a catastrophic, likely loss of ship event … or lesser flooding in the battery well bilge combined with a cracked battery cell case, which itself would not be expected but in another catastrophic event – i.e., a torpedo detonation near the torpedo room, or a depth charge near the torpedo room, or a massive collision with either another sub or ship, or with a sea mount.

          • Secundius

            According the “gCaptain” the Partial Implosion took place near the Engine Compartment. Which probably had nothing to due with the Submarines Batteries. Website address can be found on this page with “DaSaint” ~24-hours ago…

          • NavySubNuke

            Yes, that is why my response was sarcastic. Of course they would have noticed the chlorine gas building up since it doesn’t actually require the massive flooding you believe it does.
            Have you even looked at a diagram of this class of submarine and seen where the battery banks are and how they are arranged? Have you considered how water might have entered those batteries and shorted out the battery bank as the captain reported?
            Considering that you can’t even be bothered to read the INF treaty I doubt it but I am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.

          • JohnByron

            Two comments: A battery fire is hard/impossible to put out, and the collection of insulation, paint, cabling, the cells themselves, etc. burn with toxic fumes. Chlorine adds to the toxicity.

            Second, a reminder, hydrogen bubbling on the finishing rate is a feature, not a bug. It cleanses the plates by physically driving off moss and trees that can short out plates and cells. An equalizer charge forces H2 bubbling for an extended time.

            Our Gould rep encouraged us to charge a normal+one as best for battery health and we did so unless operations precluded. It worked — at time of battery job, only 4 cells jumped out of 512 total. That’s a healthy battery and the last battery test discharge before the battery job came in at 96%, again very good.

    • Oskar

      According to what proof?

      I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on Russian subs…

      • Marauder 2048

        The investigations into Ferrostaal and EnerSys-Hawker’s refit involvement have progressed about as far as recovering this submarine.

        • Oskar

          Doesn’t answer my question…

    • David Flandry

      The sub was built around 1985, not 2017.

  • JohnByron

    Seawater in the battery > chlorine and a battery fire > toxic fumes and incapacitated crew > loss of depth control > excursion below crush depth > catastrophic hull failure. Similar situation, USN lost 3 crewmembers in USS BONEFISH (SS-582) on 24 April 1988 off Jacksonville, but was able to regain the surface. JAG investigation available online.

    • NavySubNuke

      Certainly seems like the most likely chain of events to me as well. Especially given the fact that we know they had seawater in at least one battery bank.
      The biggest question in my mind is why they submerged again after the initial wetting of the battery bank happened – were the seas rough enough that they were forced down?

      • JohnByron

        In my experience, seas never that rough. Can snorkel on the surface. And always the (theoretical) issue of no righting moment when center of bouancy passes thru the center of gravity on diving. Only once in my time did ever submerge for rough seas and that was to make some time running standard submerged on the can, then surfacing to snorkel charge just keeping the nose in the seas. Bashi Channel TANG-class long time ago.

        • NavySubNuke

          My thoughts too – even if you don’t open the hatch and man the bridge you can run on the surface in some pretty awful weather even in something that small.
          I just can’t think of a good reason for the boat to submerge after ingesting sea water and shorting out a battery bank — they knew the dangers of chlorine and hydrogen off-gassing from the wetted bank I am sure.

          • JohnByron

            I suspect a battery fire too. Essentially no way to put them out other than seal compartment and starve them of air. In BONEFISH (skipper relieved me in my command, was substitute after BONEFISH predecessor fired; JAG investigation by another good diesel guy), the fumes that killed three are not specifically identified, but suspect combination of combustion fumes of all the weird stuff in the battery well and chlorine.

            BONEFISH skipper (Mike Wilson) made the gutsiest call in my experience: abandon ship. CVBG operating in area, good seas, daytime, all rescued. Three killed still inside ship and overcome before could escape.

            Mike called me from his hospital bed in Charleston to see if this old detailer could find out if his career was over. I happened to be playing handball that afternoon with the JAG himself. Asked him. “No! He’s a hero!” It was great pleasure to call Mike that night and tell him that.

          • muzzleloader

            Great story!

          • El_Sid

            HMS Protector recently tweeted “Exactly 12 months ago we sailed into huge seas in our search for our fellow seafarers of the #ARASanJuan”. If a ship that spends its life sailing the Southern Ocean says the seas were huge, then it probably was a bit choppy – I think I saw somewhere that it was SS7?

            As an aside, obviously the loss of life is tragic but this episode seems to have done wonders for the UK-Argentina relationship – in fact Protector is in Buenos Aires at the moment. A nation’s strategic interests can be well-served by lightly-armed ships just being on station and being seen to be willing to help in cases like this.

        • Duane

          Yup … any sub can safely operate on the surface as long as the pressure hull and ballast tank systems are intact, and the sub interior is liveable, though rough seas will make it pretty uncomfortable for the crew, and subject them to falls and such.

          One possible loss scenario involves some flooding that puts seawater in the battery well(s), causing electrical shorts and a battery fire which could render the interior atmosphere unliveable, and/or the seawater gets inside the battery cells and makes chlorine gas which also makes the interior unliveable. In really rough seas it may become near impossible for the crew to go and remain topside for any length of time, and a fire or off-gassing event could make it impossible for the crew to remain below to fight the flooding to keep the boat afloat. But even then, it would be likely that the crew in such desperate straits would get off the boat in inflatable life rafts, and eventually be discovered and rescued.

          Since no surface wreckage or sign of any of the sailors was ever sighted, the most likely scenario is that the boat was not able to make it up to the surface, at least not long enough to abandon ship in life rafts

          • JohnByron

            Doubt the boat carried life rafts enough for the crew. USN boats don’t. And topside can be very inhospitable in the open ocean except in the calmest of seas.

            The aim of damage control is to deal with the range of accidents that can be dealt with through damage control efforts. In a small diesel boat, that range is very narrow. This sounds like a cascading situation that rapidly became uncontrollable.

          • Duane

            It’s all relative … if staying inside is a death sentence, then you go outside, and abandon ship if necessary. Subs aren’t required by any regulation to carry sufficient life rafts for the entire complement, but in a major emergency that requires abandoning ship (battery explosion, uncontrolled fire down below, or loss of ship altogether, major contaminating nuclear accident on a nuke a la K-19), not everybody or even many are likely to make it out alive anyway.

            Presumably in this era, any sailors that abandoned ship, even if just wearing life preservers, at least one or several will have an EPIRB, a handheld VHF radio, and a flashing light beacon that could result in near-immediate rescue. If the average Joe Blow boater carries one or several cheap EPIRBs on his fishing boat or weekend sailor, then every naval warship ought to pack at least several in their abandon ship kits.

          • JohnByron

            Submarines do not have abandon ship kits. It’s a risky business at times. Accept that.

          • Duane

            Uhh, yes we do. A key part of submarine training and qualification is learning how to abandon ship, including exiting a submerged boat using the escape trunks, and using an air breathing apparatus (it used to be a variation of the old “Momsen Lung” called the “Steinke Hood” – maybe there’s something newer in use today?).

            I thought you were a qualified submariner???

            It’s well understood that most of the world’s seas are too deep for an escape, just the littorals only. But it’s all part of submarine training and qualification to get one’s dolphins.

            There has been at least one boat that I know of that had crewmembers conduct a successful submerged escape and abandon ship. The USS Tang, for one, was hit near the stern by one of its own torpedoes on a circular run while on its fifth war patrol in the Strait of Formosa in 1945. A total of 30 crewmembers retreated to the forward torpedo room, and an escape was attempted by 13 men, of whom only 5 were rescued. There were several guys, including the captain (Richard O’Kane, a MOH winner) on the bridge when the torpedo hit and swam out as the boat went down. All those rescued were captured and sent to POW camps.

          • JohnByron

            Ah yes the Steinke Hood. The prototype was sown on Erna Goode’s sewing machine in navy housing at Dolphin Towers – Gene and Erna lived next door to Steinke, Gene later a shipmate of mine.

            Escape hoods, yes. Abandon ship kits? If you say so … but I wouldn’t know in what compartment to go look for them in the five boats I qualified in.

            Well aware of the first TANG’s incident. Met both Killer O’Kane and his wife when I was XO in the new TANG.

            Only ‘Abandon Ship’ in my experience was Mike Wilson’s order in BONEFISH in ’88 off JAX. Mentioned a couple comments down.

          • Duane

            Well, you actually met Capt. O’Kane? Wow, I envy you on that… he was one of the greatest submariners ever, and his autobiography is one I’ve read multiple times. His description of Tang’s attacks, particularly the night time surface attacks, literally steaming in formation with enemy ships in the convoy all around him while shooting torpedoes from for and aft rooms simultaneously, are positively thrilling to read.

            The predecessor in name of the boat I served on (USS Gurnard SSN 662) was the SS-254 under Captain Andrews. Their fifth war patrol was similar to Tang’s best war patrols, and resulted in the deadliest single naval attack in history in the eastern Celebes Sea. Gurnard found and attacked a convoy in a night surface attack, the convoy containing four troop ships carrying 40,000 Japanese soldiers headed for New Guinea, plus several tankers and freighters. Gurnard sank two of the troop ships with virtually no survivors, killing an estimated 20,000 Japanese soldiers, plus sank two more tankers and a cargo ship. Imagine the power of 65 sailors on a small sub killing the equivalent of two full divisions of combat troops in under an hour. How many of MacArthur’s troops on New Guinea owed their lives to that little submarine crew?

          • El_Sid

            “yes we do” – you’re in the Argentine navy?

            Remember, this is not the USN – this is a navy whose destroyers are more likely to submerge than their submarines (who were measuring their time under water in hours per year). All the Argentine armed forces are desperately underfunded, which means no money for spares, training etc. It’s no surprise that things break, and that when they do, that crews don’t have the experience/training to do the right thing. And then you have the challenge of doing all this in SS7 in the Southern Ocean, this is not some training cruise out of Kings Bay.

          • Duane

            He referred to submarines, period Not to Argentine submarines. US submarines carry equipment for abandoning ship as I described. I have no idea what Argentine subs carry, or even what US submarines carry today – I just know what we carried on our SSNs back when I served in the 1970s.

          • NavySubNuke

            Yes, the hoods are long gone. We use the SEIE suits now. Supposedly they are good for a much deeper depth. In SOBC we spent a day playing around in the pool in them and climbing into the attached one-person life rafts but they now have a buoyant escape trainer operating again and everyone going through the program these days does an ascent like in the past.
            That said, @JohnByron:disqus is correct — there is no kit (i.e food, water, radio, etc.). You get a one person life raft and a whistle. Considering how close to shore you have to sink to be able to do a self-escape in the suit… that is probably all you need.

    • Oskar

      Conjecture > speculation > guessing > rumours

  • Duane

    For those who doubt that UUVs and AUVs are a real “thing”, this result shows otherwise. A private search and salvage company that can do this kind of search with AUVs is but a small sample of what such equipment can do in the hands of the US Navy.

    • .Hugo.

      .
      actually not just the u.s. navy…. 🙂
      .
      chin adefenseobservation. com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/2-2-768×492.jpg

  • R’ Yitzchak M

    A year long search at previously relatively known location that is 200m long.. ? Then how about 20m long nuclear tipped torpedos 700km range with 500km/h speed? Or “deep sleepers” mines? Perhaps even a 1,000m deep subs..

    Anti-mines and anti submarine technology must be improved it is really an existential threat and must be treated as such

    Congratulations for finding it

  • David Flandry

    The captain should have runn the surface after some batteries were damage by water.

    • Secundius

      One problem! The Germans didn’t perform the Maintenance to the Submarine, the Argentine Navy did. And didn’t use the same Welding Flux specified but the German Shipyard that built the submarine…

  • ChrisLongski

    Look at that silty depression the wreckage is in. That sub hit the ocean floor with great force…

  • Oskar

    Lead by example.

  • Oskar

    I’ve tried to explain things to you simply.

    I even typed slowly, just for you.

    I can’t fix stupid.

  • Oskar

    “If you wre only ‘stupid’…”

    If you weren’t illiterate, you might have a chance at something other than trolling.