The Argentine Navy has distributed this image of the ocean floor in the search area for the ARA San Juan. (Argentine Navy handout)

Search efforts for the missing submarine ARA San Juan are continuing today with a focus on a contact point southwest of the center of the search area and at a depth of 700 meters.

The search of the point described by Captain Enrique Balbi at today’s press conference is being carried out by the Atlantis US Navy research vessel hosting the CURV-21 search vehicle. An earlier search of a possible contact point by the Atlantis at 1000 meters turned out to be a rock formation. Over the weekend, a Russian team also ruled out a possible contact point which also turned out to be a rock formation on the seabed. Contact was lost with the submarine 26 days ago.

The Navy has said that one of the reasons the search has been difficult is because the area being searched has a series of submarine canyons that can interfere with the sonar tools used to identify objects on the ocean floor by way of false echos. According to the Navy there are are at least seven such canyons in the search area and they are characterized by irregular and sharp shapes.

In response to a report in La Nación citing a US Navy intelligence conclusion that the ARA San Juan experienced a catastrophic collapse in a matter of milliseconds, Balbi said the report was one more piece of information that had been under consideration and nothing had been ruled out. La Nación reported that the Navy report was based on an analysis of the “hydroacoustic anomaly” picked up by hydrophone belonging to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).

Balbi said again today there is no time limit for the search efforts.