Head of Argentina’s Navy Fired After Submarine ARA San Juan Disappeared

ARGENTINA has sacked the head of its navy after one of its submarines vanished without a trace.

Admiral Marcelo Eduardo Hipolito Srur was sacked by the country’s defence minister, Sky News reports.

It is the first known disciplinary action that has been taken over the disaster that occurred a month ago.

The submarine had 44 crew members on board, whose families have taken to the streets in protest and demanded answers.

The navy’s final contact with the German-built ARA San Juan, a 34-year-old diesel-electric sub, came on November 15, when it was sailing in the South Atlantic 450 kilometres from the coast.

 A global multinational search effort has taken place, but the vessel has not been found off the Argentinian coast yet.

Hopes of finding the submarine with its crew alive faded when the search passed 10 days. By that stage, the vessel would have been unable to sustain life if intact under water with its limited oxygen supply.

The news comes as workers used sonar equipment on Monday to get the facts on objects found 26 days after the Argentine sub went missing.

US research vessel R/V Atlantis deploying the cable-controlled Undersea Recovery Vehicle (CURV-21) off the coast of Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina. Picture: AFP

President Mauricio Macri and the navy consider the crew to have been tragically lost.

But family members desperate for closure have been pushing for the search to continue until the vessel is located and questions about its fate are answered, despite a series of false hopes.

“A new object has been found at 1,000 metres with sonar search equipment in the South Atlantic. And it is being looked at to determine if it could be the Argentine sub,” along with a second object at about 700 metres, navy spokesman Enrique Balbi told reporters.

They were spotted by the US vessel Atlantis.

Families of the 44 crew members of the submarine ARA San Juan march in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Picture: AP

Authorities have not set any date for when the search might be officially abandoned.

In its final communication, the submarine reported it had overcome a mechanical breakdown that resulted from a short circuit due to water that seeped through the vessel’s snorkel.

Three hours later, a noise similar to an explosion was recorded 48 kilometres from where the crew had given its last report.

The position was in line with the planned path the submarine would have taken to reach its base in Mar del Plata, according to the navy.