Navy crew work aboard the ARA Sarandi destroyer before leaving to take part in the search for the ARA San Juan submarine, at the Argentinian Naval Base in Mar del Plata, Argentina, on November 21, 2017. Picture: REUTERS
Navy crew work aboard the ARA Sarandi destroyer before leaving to take part in the search for the ARA San Juan submarine, at the Argentinian Naval Base in Mar del Plata, Argentina, on November 21, 2017. Picture: REUTERS

Mar del Plata, Argentina — The search continued on Tuesday for an Argentinian submarine with 44 crew aboard. It has been missing in the South Atlantic for nearly a week, but improved weather is expected to quicken the hunt.

Rescue boats have scoured about 80% of the search area for the ARA San Juan, but storms and high winds limited the effort in the past several days.

"Today is a critical day," said Maria Victoria Morales, the mother of Luis Garcia, an electrical technician aboard the vessel. "We are holding up as well as we can."

Morales and other relatives of crew members have been gathered at a naval base in Mar del Plata, where authorities are co-ordinating the search-and-rescue operation.

The submarine was en route from Ushuaia in Argentina’s extreme south to the coastal city of Mar del Plata when it sent its last location on November 15.

More than a dozen boats and aircraft from Argentina, the US, Britain, Chile and Brazil have joined the search.

Authorities have mainly been scanning from the sky as storms have halted the maritime hunt.

"We trust that the boats assigned to each zone can do an effective maritime patrol and will not be struggling against the storm as they were in recent days," said a navy spokesman.

Searchers have suffered disappointments as analysis has shown that satellite signals and sounds detected by underwater probes initially thought to be messages from the crew did not come from the vessel. The submarine had reported an electrical problem and was heading back to its base in Mar del Plata when it disappeared.

Reuters

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