November 21, 2017

Major Search & Rescue Discipline Necessary To Find San Juan


It is important that prematurely announced rumours (of messages, sounds, etc) allegedly coming from ARA San Juan do not give relatives, or others, false hope. The roller-coaster of pessimism and optimism can only cause more worry. Out of false hope or military/government agendas comes conspiracy theories. 

A recent precedent was the loss of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 (MH370) - a large jet that in March 2014 (very likely) crashed into the Indian Ocean. Despite rumour spreading and political posturing by the Malaysian military and government (and prematurely announced judgements from Australia's Prime Minister in 2014) MH370 has never been found. Although small bits of MH370 washed up on beaches, more than a year later and thousands of miles away from the expected crash point. 

The search for San Juan may occur more like that of Air France Flight 447 (AF447) a flight from Rio, Brazil to Paris. AF477, an Airbus A330, crashed into the Atlantic, on 1 June 2009. The French Rubis class nuclear submarine L'Émeraude took part in the early phase of the search. After immense effort from many small, specialised search probes AF477 was finally located in April 2011.

After informing the Argentine Government it is possible the US may have deployed one of its own Los Angeles or Virginia class nuclear submarines to help seach for San Juan. However, the best US submarine for the job would be Seawolf class submarine USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23) with her specially fitted 2,500-ton mid-section that provides an ocean interface for divers, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), special mission equipment and storage.


 The Guardian, November 21, 2017, reported, in part:

"Argentina's navy says fresh noises are not [NOT] from missing submarine"

    "...Argentina’s navy has said sounds detected from the bottom of the ocean are not from the
    submarine which has been missing in rough seas for five days with 44 crew on board.
Spokesman Enrique Balbi said “a biological source” [eg. a whale] was behind the noises which were picked up by two Argentinian navy ships searching for ARA San Juan and by sonar buoys dropped by a US P8 surveillance plane.
The navy has also revealed the submarine’s last communication, on Wednesday, was to report a mechanical breakdown related to its batteries. Captain Gabriel Galeazzi, who runs the naval base in Mar del Plata, which was the submarine’s destination, said mechanical problems were not uncommon and rarely posed a risk.
The announcement regarding the noises dashed hopes raised by a CNN report on Monday that stated the sounds could be crew members banging tools against the hull. “The sounds are not from the submarine and do not correspond to a pattern that could be interpreted as Morse code,” Balbi said..."


Submarine ARA San Juan was travelling north from Ushuaia to the main submarine base at Mar Del Plata when it vanished - within what is now a very wide and deep three-dimensional search area (Map courtesy the Daily Mail (Australia Edition).
"Eternal Father, Strong to Save" The Navy Hymn for Submariners


Josh said...

Possible detection of the sub - thermal bloom and infrasound detection.


Side note - the article claims the USN has detected a large metal object thermally at 230 feet/70 meters depth. That would be impressive if true (I'll look and see any other news org confirms this story). I mean, unless there was a fire on board and the hull is still steaming from it, that seems like a pretty impressive detection. I'd thought IR detection was strictly limited to snorts for D/E type subs; they don't dump warm cooling water into the local environment like a nuke (some heat is transferred through the hull).


Peter Coates said...

Hi Josh

There seems to be little media or official follow-up about the heat claim. Something new on sound is The UK Guardian, Thurs 23 Nov reports :
"Meanwhile, reports of a strange noise detected by US sensors on 15 November in the area where the submarine was traveling at the time of [San Juan's] disappearance generated speculation that the San Juan may have suffered an explosion shortly after it last made radio contact."

The UK Guardian, Thurs 23 Nov further reports :
the relatives' mounting negative reaction aginst the Argentine Navy and Government.
eg. Argentine "navy chiefs said that military protocol advise[d] a 48-hour waiting period before beginning search efforts for [San Juan]..."

“I feel like I’m at a wake, that’s how I feel,” said a tearful [relative] Alfaro. “I also feel time passing and time is crucial. I’m deeply pained by the decisions taken. Why so much protocol? Is protocol going to bring them back?”

"...[Argentine President] Macri is reportedly angry with his navy commanders because of their handling of the crisis. According to the Infobae website, Macri’s defence minister, Oscar Aguad, only learned the submarine was missing when he read about it in the press, after the navy announced last Saturday that it had lost contact with the San Juan on 15 November..."

"Also being called into question is the wisdom of having deployed a 34-year-old submarine to make the 10-day journey from the Argentinian port of Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, to the naval base in Mar del Plata."