La Nación’s data team recently discovered that the majority of the ARA San Juan crew members had life insurance amounting to less than AR $50,000. 32 of the 44 crew members only had “basic coverage,” which includes burial insurance and compulsory social insurance. The total coverage amounts to AR $48,130 each.
However, many of the family members would rather not talk about the insurance and instead want to direct media attention, time, and energy into the search for the remains of their loved ones.
“I did not hear anything,” Marcela Moyano, the wife of missing crew member Hernán Ramón Rodríguez. “Today my head is in something else, I’m interested in continuing with the search, to find them.”
The other 12 ARA San Juan crew members had contracted “voluntary collective life insurance,” and their relatives will receive a much higher payment, ranging from AR $603,180 to AR $822,230, in addition to the minimum payments of AR $48,130.
La Nación reported that none of the family members want to talk about these economic reimbursements; all more interested in finding the remains of their loved ones and discovering what actually happened to the submarine.
On Wednesday, November 15, 2017 at 7:19 AM, 44 crew members of the submarine ARA San Juan were reportedly “fatigued” after enduring a storm with waves soaring up to 6 meters above the surface, according to a recently discovered encrypted message, Clarín reported. The messages also indicated that amid the storm, the commander ordered the vessel to submerge 40 meters underwater, in order to both repair the submarine’s batteries, and to rest.
The last encrypted message, sent by Navy Lieutenant Fernando Villarreal to the Center of Submarine Communications, reported that they “were on periscope level,” meaning that the mast of the boat was still above sea level. At this time, the sub was powered by a “split circuit” because the batteries from the bow of the boat had been disconnected due to “a short circuit and the beginnings of a fire.”
The message also indicated that the ARA San Juan was headed to Mar del Plata at 5 knots of speed.
The explosion that provoked the tragedy was detected at 10:31 AM the same day. At first, officials assumed that the sub had exploded due to the hydrogen released from the batteries affected by the water. Water had entered through the snorkel when the submarine was 40 meters under. Once it reached 300 meters below, the ARA San Juan “began to squeeze like a can of aluminum by the pressure of the sea,” according to Clarín.
Retired Army Chief Marcelo Srur accused two leaders of the ARA San Juan of allowing the submarine to leave the port of Ushuaia even though it had registered “severe anomalies.” The two accused, Villarreal and Luis López Mazzeo (the now-suspended head of Naval Training and Recruitment) presented separate defenses.
As more updates come to the surface, families insist on one thing: they just want to know what happened.