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Argentines see Russian experts as role models in search for lost submarine — volunteer

The ARA San Juan diesel electric submarine with 44 crewmembers aboard went missing on November 15, 2017

BUENOS AIRES, January 26. /TASS/. Argentine sailors call Russian Navy experts participating in the search operation for the missing Argentine submarine ARA San Juan role models, said Yury Andrushchak, who worked for two weeks as a volunteer interpreter aboard the Islas Malvinas vessel which is carrying Russian servicemen and a Panther Plus remotely operated vehicle (ROV).

"As for their commitment to the cause and their attitude towards their work, the Argentines followed the Russians’ example. The Argentines later admitted to me that they’d like to have such discipline in the fleet," Andrushchak told TASS.

Andrushchak also noted the "well-coordinated work of the Argentinian crew and the Russian experts." "Sometimes, the ROV had to be submersed at 3 am, sometimes at 5 am. And at any time of the day, when the crew came, both the Argentines and the Russians were ready," he added.

"Our tasks was to find the boat as soon as possible. Once a signal was picked up ashore, we were given the coordinates and we went to that spot immediately. If it was located far away, we had two to three hours of rest, while the Argentine crew was working," said the volunteer who has lived in Argentina for over 20 years.

The Panther Plus ROV is built to operate in still waters, Andrushchak said. "However, we had to work in up to 3 grades of the Sea State Code, which already amount to critical weather conditions, and the experts were working at full technical capacity," he said. "There were moments when it was impossible to work, and we had to wait it out," the interpreter added.

"Still, there was no fear that something might go wrong. The vessel is safe," he noted.

The ARA San Juan diesel electric submarine with 44 crewmembers aboard went missing on November 15, 2017. On November 30, the Navy called off the rescue operation, but the search for the vanished submarine continues.

Apart from the Russian Navy specialists on board the Islas Malvinas, the Russian oceanographic vessel Yantar is also taking part in the operation.