A sonar search for a missing Argentine submarine has detected a new contact in the South Atlantic, the country’s navy has said.
The contact will be investigated by the remotely operated Russian Panther Plus submarine as Atlantis – a US oceanographic research vessel – continues to examine the search area.
No further details about the contact have been released.
The latest development comes as the search for the missing ARA San Juan submarine continues.
The vessel disappeared on 15 November with 44 crew members on board, and 13 countries have been involved in the search effort.
The navy is focusing its search on locating the sub but abandoned hope of finding survivors after the vessel reported seawater had entered the ventilation system, causing a battery to short-circuit and start a fire, in its last message.
Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi told reporters in late November that the captain said water had entered through the diesel-electric vessel’s snorkel when its batteries were being changed.
Officials also said an unusual sound was detected in the ocean near the submarine’s last known position – three hours after it made its final contact.
They said the noise was “consistent with an explosion”.
Previous detected contacts so far have been false alarms, with one coming from a sunken fishing boat.
The San Juan’s disappearance led to the head of Argentina’s navy, Admiral Marcelo Srur, being dismissed earlier this month.
In his first public comments on the missing sub, President of Argentina Mauricio Macri said: “The disappearance and current search for the ARA San Juan submarine has touched all Argentines.
“It’s a difficult moment for all but, obviously, especially for the families of the 44 crew members.
“I’m here to guarantee you that we will carry on with the search, especially now that we have the support of all the international community.”
The German-built San Juan, a TR-1700 class submarine, was commissioned in 1985 and refitted in 2014.