HMS Protector is joining the search for an Argentine Navy submarine that has been out of contact for days.

On the 17th of November 2017 it was announced that San Juan had not been heard from for over 48 hours and that search and rescue operations had been launched some 200 nautical miles southeast of San Jorge Gulf.

The contact was lost when the submarine was en route from the Ushuaia naval base to the Mar del Plata base.

Argentine Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi told a news conference:

“We have not been able to find, or have visual or radar communication with the submarine.”

Protocol in the Argentine Navy dictates that a submarine must come to the surface if communication is lost.

The submarine entered service on 19 November 1985. Her mid-life update was carried out in Argentina between 2008 and 2013.

The last known position of the sub is believed to be off the south-eastern Valdez peninsula.

There are at least 44 people on board the missing submarine. Among them is Argentina’s first female submarine officer, Eliana María Krawczyk.

A NASA P-3 Orion equipped with a magnetometer, gravimeter, and other sensors, was redirected from Operation Ice Bridge to aid in the search and the United Kingdom offered assistance in the form of a C130 Hercules based in the Falkland Islands.

The US Navy was also sending a P-8 currently in El Salvador on Saturday, November 18, 2017.



  1. “Protocol in the Argentine Navy dictates that a submarine must come to the surface if communication is lost.”

    There is a storm in the area, 45mph winds, so perhaps the sub is staying dowin in calmer waters till the storm abates. Let’s hope so.

  2. Given that it’s over 30 years old and the endurance of diesel electric submarines is limited to days in sub surface operations I would say the chances of a successful conclusion to this incident are very remote.

    The state of the Argentine military is currently very poor and they pose little threat to the Falklands islanders.

  3. I guess it would take too long to get NSRS down there?
    If it was flown down from Prestwick on a C17 what ship could take it?

  4. With all the publicity over the last few months about the state of their equipment why on earth did they send a sub this far away from port ? Madness. Hope they’re found but either way someone should raise hell about the maniac who ordered this.

  5. It is being reported that the last message from the submarine indicated that had suffered a major mechanical failure/breakdown.

    Chances of finding anyone alive are now extremely remote.

  6. Does anyone know why there were so many on board – training or something? I believe the normal crew is 26, but 44 were on board. Given the probable current state of maintenance given Argentinas situation might this have been asking too much of the submarine?

  7. The Chilean Navy has a couple of Scorpene-class boats. They are more than likely the most capable submarine detection assets in the region…


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