MOSCOW, November 23. /TASS/. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has sent specialists of the Navy’s 328th expedition search and rescue unit to search for the missing Argentine San Juan submarine in the Atlantic Ocean, the Defense Ministry said.
Upon the order of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the minister held a phone conversation with his Argentine counterpart.
Shoigu ordered to immediately deploy a mobile group of specialists to Argentina’s coast by a military and transport plane together with the Pantera Plus air-transportable remote-controlled submersible.
"Besides, the Yantar oceanographic research ship of Russia’s Navy, which is currently implementing the tasks off the western coast of Africa, has been sent to the search operation area. The vessel is equipped with two deep-water vehicles allowing conducting researches at the depth of up to 6,000 meters," the ministry said.
The diesel-electric submarine San Juan, with 44 crew members onboard, lost contact on November 15. The Argentine Navy launched an intensive search for it in the night hours of November 16. On Wednesday, Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi said the operation reached a "critical stage" as oxygen might last only seven days.
According to Argentina’s Foreign Ministry, a total of 12 countries have already provided their assistance, including Germany, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Spain, the United States, France, Norway, Peru, the United Kingdom and Uruguay.