Argentina prepares to install at its vessel Russian equipment for submarine search
Argentina’s Islas Malvinas vessel is currently being prepared to carry Russian equipment for the search of the missing San Juan submarine, a senior official at the southern Patagonian port of Comodoro Rivadavia port told TASS on Thursday.
"Currently, works are under way to install a structure on which Russian equipment will be mounted," Marcelo Gauto said.
According to the official, the platform was designed by an engineer, who arrived from Buenos Aires for the purpose. Workers started to assemble it once the project was approved.
Gauto said the works are estimated to take about four hours.
The vessel is expected to be ready to depart late on Thursday local time (Friday morning Moscow time).
A TASS correspondent reported from the scene that containers with Russian equipment have already been delivered to the port and are ready to be loaded. Russian specialists have also arrived on the site.
Islas Malvinas arrived in Comodoro Rivadavia on Wednesday evening. According to the Argentine Navy, the vessel will take to the search area a remote-controlled submersible, fit for search missions at the depths of up to 1,000 meters.
The first batch of Russian rescue equipment, including a small submersible that can dive to depths of up to 300 meters, headed to the search area on Tuesday night.
The Russian Defense Ministry earlier reported that upon the instruction from President Vladimir Putin, Defense Minister Army General Sergey Shoigu had ordered to dispatch a group of experts from the Navy’s 328th expedition search and rescue unit to Argentina along with the Pantera Plus unmanned submersible, as well as the Russian Navy’s Yantar oceanographic research vessel.
ARA San Juan, a diesel-electric powered submarine with a 44-strong crew aboard, stopped responding to radio communications on November 15. The Argentine Navy said an intensive search for it began in the night hours of November 16. A search and rescue operation was launched on the following day.
At present, the search and rescue operation is being held in the area where, according to the Preparatory Commission of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, an explosion was registered on the day the submarine went missing.