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Russian oceanographic ship may reach Argentine sub search area by end of week

November 25, 4:57 UTC+3 BUENOS AIRES

Enrique Balbi, a spokesman for the Argentine Navy noted that the Russian ship Yantar has high-tech equipment and a capability for submerged search

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Russian oceanographic research ship Yantar

Russian oceanographic research ship Yantar

© Vitaliy Nevar/TASS

BUENOS AIRES, November 25. /TASS/. Russian oceanographic research ship Yantar may get to the area of search for the distressed Argentine submarine San Juan by the end of the week, Enrique Balbi, a spokesman for the Argentine Navy told a news conference on Friday.

"The Russian ship Yantar is likely to arrive in the area by the end of the week," he said. "It has high-tech equipment and a capability for submerged search."

An Antonov-124 Ruslan [aka Condor] airlifter is expected to deliver the first consignment of Russian emergency aid to Argentina within a few hours. Balbi said the cargo carrier will land in the city of Comodoro Rivadavia for refueling and will head from there for country’s southernmost city of Ushuaia, the capital of Tierra del Fuego.

According to an earlier report by the Russian Defense Ministry, a group of specialists from the rescue detachment of the Russian Navy is traveling aboard the Antonov-124 from St Petersburg to Argentina to join the search for ARA San Juan. It includes the crew of the Pantera Plus unmanned remote-control descent capsule, deep-water divers, and an undersea physician.

After November 17, when an Argentine notification on the launch of a search and rescue operation appeared at the homepage of the International Submarine Escape and Rescue Liaison Office [ISMERLO], "this country started getting a huge number of proposals from different countries for various types of assistance," Balbi said.

The Argentine Foreign Ministry says twelve countries Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Norway, Peru, Spain, the U.S., the UK, and Uruguay - have taken part in the operation. Russia offered its assistance on Wednesday.

ARA San Juan, a diesel-electric powered submarine with a 44-strong crew aboard, stopped responding to radio communications on November 15. The Argentine Navy said an intensive search for it began in the night hours of November 16.

On Thursday, Balbi said Argentina had received information on an abnormal solitary powerful non-nuclear accident that equaled an explosion, registered in the search area on the day of the last communication with the distressed submarine.

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