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Russian ship Yantar likely to reach Argentine sub search area in early December

A spokesman for the Argentine Navy Enrique Balbi said the ship has high-tech equipment and a capability for submerged search at depths of up to 6,000 meters

BUENOS AIRES, November 25. /TASS/. Russian oceanographic research ship Yantar may get to the area of search for the distressed Argentine submarine San Juan at the beginning of December, but not by the end of the week, Enrique Balbi, a spokesman for the Argentine Navy said on Saturday.

"The Russian ship Yantar will probably arrive in the search area in early December," Balbi said.

Earlier, Balbi informed that the ship was likely to get to the area by the end of the current week.

The Yantar "has high-tech equipment and a capability for submerged search at depths of up to 6,000 meters," the Navy’s spokesman said.

Besides, the Antonov-124 Ruslan [aka Condor] aiicraft that touched down on Friday night will stay in the city of Comodoro Rivadavia instead of heading for the country’s southernmost city of Ushuaia, the capital of Tierra del Fuego, as it had been earlier planned.

"The Rosales corvette and Islas Malvinas patrol ship of Argentina’s Navy will set sail to Comodoro Rivadavia where that hi-tech equipment will be loaded onto them," Balbi said noting it would happen "in a span of few days."

The Russian Defense Ministry earlier reported that upon the instruction from President Vladimir Putin, Defense Minister Army General Sergey Shoigu had ordered to dispatch a group of experts from the Navy’s 328th expedition search and rescue unit to Argentina along with the Pantera Plus unmanned submersible, as well as the Russian Navy’s Yantar oceanographic research vessel.

The group of specialists from the rescue detachment of the Russian Navy includes the crew of the Pantera Plus unmanned remote-control descent capsule, deep-water divers, and an undersea physician.

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.