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Argentina fires head of navy a month after submarine vanished

Argentina has fired the head of its navy a month after one of its submarines vanished with 44 crew members on board.

Admiral Marcelo Eduardo Hipolito Srur was sacked by the country’s defence minister in the first known disciplinary over the disaster.

The ARA San Juan was last heard from on 15 November when it reported a fire on board.

The message said seawater had entered the vessel’s ventilation system causing a battery to short-circuit.

A navy spokesperson said the message added that the issue was resolved. But it was still ordered to return to base at Mar del Plata.

Relatives and friends of Tagliapietra, one of the 44 crew members of the missing at sea ARA San
Relatives and friends of one of the 44 crew members

The ARA San Juan has not been heard from since, despite a multi-national search effort some 250 miles off the Argentinian coast.

Hopes of finding the submarine and its crew faded when the search passed 10 days, which was the amount of time the San Juan would have been able to sustain life if intact under water with its limited oxygen supply.

They faded further when researchers hunting through records found that an explosion was detected in the area where the sub was last tracked.

Argentine servicemen speak with RAF crew inside the cockpit of the plane. Pics: Guillermo Lobo
Argentine servicemen with RAF crew during the search. Pic: Guillermo Lobo

Argentina called off the rescue mission at the end of November, although the search for the sub continues.

Relatives of the crew claimed the government had put their loved ones in harm’s way because the vessel is more than 30 years old.

The German submarine, a TR-1700 class, was commissioned in 1985 and refitted in 2014.

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