Photo via the Times of Israel.

The search for the missing Argentine ARA San Juan submarine has entered its “critical phase” and drawn international media attention. In this piece, we will examine how international outlets are covering the story; for a detailed update on the investigation, read our article from earlier today.

The United States 

The New York Times: “Silent Sub: Time Is The Enemy As Argentina Hunts a Lost Vessel”

The New York Times described the narrative arc of the investigation, including the vessel’s last signals and the reactions from family members of the crew. “Supervisors on land ordered the vessel to abort its mission and head home. They expected it would do so at “periscope depth” – close enough to the surface to call shore if it was in danger. And last they heard, that was what the submarine was doing. Then there was only silence. Now, six days later, the worried families of the 44 crew members know little more than that, despite one of the largest international maritime rescue efforts in modern times,” Daniel Politi and Ernesto Londoño wrote.

Photo via The New York Times
Photo via The New York Times

National Public Radio: “Undersea ‘Banging Sounds’ Not From Sub, Argentine Navy Says”

NPR reported on the case generally and the latest false alarm. “NPR’s Philip Reeves reports that the sound, detected by Argentine ships about 220 miles from the coast of Patagonia at a depth of about 650 feet, was first thought possibly to be made by crew members hammering on the sub’s hull to attract attention,” explained Scott Newman.

The Washington Post: “Search for a missing submarine is stymied by new challenges: 20-foot waves and 50 mph winds”

The Washington Post summarized the case as reported by other American outlets and offered context for missing submarines in recent years and theories to explain the mystery of their disappearances. In 1968, the USS Scorpion sunk with 2 nuclear torpedoes and its 99 crew members. The cause, according to the US Navy “cannot be definitively ascertained.”

Latin America 

El Universal (Mexico): “US planes sent to help search for the Argentine submarine”

El Universal described US Southern Command’s efforts to help the Argentine Navy recover ARA San Juan. “P-8a Poseidon left today with a team of 21 people from Jacksonville…[a plane] used for search and rescue missions equipped with sensors and communications equipment of the latest generation.”

Folha de S. Paulo (Brazil): “Criticized, Macri visits family members of the crew of the Argentine submarine”

Folha de S. Paulo focused on criticism President Mauricio Macri has received for his handling of the missing submarine. “At the Mar del Plata base, the president talked to the families and the officials who are commanding the search team. In the previous days, [Macri] has received criticism from the opposition for the delay in being present,” Sylvia Colombo wrote.


The Guardian (Great Britain): “Argentina’s navy says fresh noises are not from missing submarine”

The Guardian explained that the source of the false alarms came from a “biological source”, and not from the missing vessel. It also reported that the Hercules C-130 plane and HMS Protector, the Royal Navy’s Ice Patrol Ship, has continued to aid the international rescue effort. “The five-day search has entered a “critical phase”, the navy said, because the submarine is approaching the probable limit of its oxygen reserves,” Uki Goñi wrote.

Photo via The Guardian
Photo via The Guardian

BBC (Great Britain): “Argentina missing submarine: Concern grows after two false alarms”

BBC focused on answering critical questions about the search for the missing ARA San Juan including “What happened to the sub?”, “How was the alarm raised?”, and “Who is on board?” “There are 44 crew on board the submarine, which is under the command of Pedro Martín Fernández. Forty-three of the crew are men but there is also one woman, Eliana María Krawczyk. The 35-year-old is the first female officer in Argentina to serve on a submarine,” BBC explained.

El País (Spain): “The Argentine Navy confirms detected sound is not from the lost submarine”

El País also described the false alarms and reported on the case’s general conditions. In an article whose first sentence is “False hope.”, the Spanish paper explained the dire situation for oxygen in the submarine. “The ARA San Juan is supposed to emerge one time per day to charge energy and get air in the cabin. If it is able to complete this ritual, the crew members have resources to navigate for 30 days. But it is another story if it is submerged constantly,” Federico Rivas Molina said.

Süddeutsche Zeitung (Germany): “Missing submarine reported machine damage”

Süddeutsche Zeitung provided a technical update on the submarine that was built in Germany. “The 65 meter long and seven meter wide diesel electric boat type TR-1700 was built in the shipyard Thyssen Nordseewerke in Emden and ran in 1983 from the launch. In 2007 and 2014, the “ARA San Juan” was overhauled…The Argentine Navy has a total of three submarines from German production.”

The Bubble will provide updates on the events as they take place.