At 41 days since the ARA San Juan last made contact, poor weather has prevented the ARA Islas Malvinas from examining yesterday three recently discovered contact points.
The Navy today reported that the poor conditions hindered the efforts by the ARA Islas Malvinas to take a closer look at contact points at depths of 500, 700 and 814 meters. The points were found by the ARA Sarandí destroyer, which is helping with the search.
The Sarandí and the Islas Malvinas, which has the Russian Panther Plus (Remotely Operated Vehicle) on board, are part of a search effort for the missing submarine that includes a total of five ships. The ARA Puerto Argentino, the US research vessel Atlantis, and the Russian ship Yantar are currently in the search area as well. The Yantar returned to the search area yesterday after a short re-supply period.
Conditions are expected to improve today for the search.
— Armada Argentina (@Armada_Arg) 26 de diciembre de 2017
In parallel, family members of the missing sailors have expressed hope that the conformation of a Bicameral Commission with the goal of proving the reasons for the San Juan’s disappearance be confirmed by the Senate tomorrow. “The hopes are now that the Bicameral Commission will be made up of six lawmakers, six senators, five specialists and a groups of family members,” said Claudio Rodríguez in a conversation with Radio del Plata. Rodríguez is the brother of Hernán Rodríguez, one of the 44 missing crew members aboard the San Juan. The Lower House has already agreed to establish the Commission and the families have met with senators ahead of what will be the last session in the Upper House.
The Bicameral Commission is the next step in the administrative and judicial investigation into the disappearance, which remains unexplained. Rodríguez said that those investigations have been necessary because “nobody [in the Executive] wanted to get involved.” Yolanda Mendiola, mother to one of the sailors on the submarine, said that the government “doesn’t want to find the submarine” because it would reveal the poor conditions of the vessel. “Society must not forget that the 44 died; it must not forget that they were sent to die, they were abandoned” she said on Radio Delta.
The confirmation of the Bicameral Commission comes on the heels of the dismissal of Admiral Marcelo Srur as head of the Navy and reports of tensions among the upper echelons of the force.