Argentina must listen to specialized technicians in the ARA San Juan trial
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Argentina must listen to specialized technicians in the ARA San Juan trial


As discussed in the article of 28 April 2020, all data collected so far leads to the conclusion that the ARA SAN JUAN was lost on 15 November 2017 because the Commanding Officer ordered the submarine to submerge which allowed hydrogen out-gassed by the water-damaged forward battery group to build to explosive levels over a 90-minute period. That explosion instantly killed the entire SAN JUAN crew who never knew there was a problem, They did not experience anxiety or pain. This tragedy is being compounded by a second tragedy: the rush to convict ARA personnel who could not conceivably be guilty of complicity in the event. That effort goes rapidly forward without the defense being provided with evidence that could exculpate (clear of fault or guilt) the accused.That evidence is the 67,000 images of the SAN JUAN wreck taken by the Ocean Infinity search ship when the wreck was located on 16 November 2018 at depths between 926m and 945m.

Images taken of the wreck of the US nuclear submarine SCORPION - lost on 22 May 1968 - showed pieces of the main battery strewn throughout the entire debris field. The operations compartment - located immediately above the battery well - had been completely destroyed ("disintegrated)" by explosive energy: "a violent force moving from fore-to-aft and low in the battery well." (Quote from paragraph 7.4.10, page 7.7 of the SCORPION Structural Analysis Group Report of 20 January 1970)

Based on experience gained during the processing and analysis of the SCORPION wreck debris field images, it is estimated that no more than several hundred of the 67,000 images of the SAN JUAN wreck debris field need to be analyzed in detail; however, many of these images must be combined into a montage (a composite picture made by combining separate pictures), a technique used successfully with the SCORPION data to (1) confirm the acoustic-based battery-explosion assessment, (2) show the positional relationships of major components of the wreck, identify the source of smaller wreckage and (3) provide a basis for assessing the dynamic forces and sequence of the implosion. This approach will provide the technical evidence needed to further support a scientific assessment of the cause of the loss of the ARA SAN JUAN.

In the interest of justice in Argentina, it is time for the government to stop the apparent rush to injustice over the loss the SAN JUAN and insure the legal process has provided all parties with the photographic evidence and they have been fully informed of any conclusions derived from analysis of that evidence with identification of who analyzed the evidence and their technical qualifications: bona fides. Additionally, the personnel who analyzed the photographic evidence should be made available for questioning by the accused and lawyers who are defending the accused.


In every Navy in the world, safety is the primary concern and responsibility of the Commanding Officer. If he considers it necessary, it is his responsibility to advise his chain-of-command ashore if an emergency has occurred or could develop. In such a case, it is required that any distress message should be followed by standard emergency procedure messages to the controlling ARA authority. This did no occur with the ARA SAN JUAN. What did occur was a telephone message to the Commanding Officer's equivalent ashore through the Commanding Officer's personal telephone during which he communicated his intent to submerge to rest his crew; therefore, there was no emergency message sent by the SAN JUAN on the morning of 15 November 2017. What was sent was basically a situation report that indicated a controlled situation after a mishap. The message further discussed a new situation that was far from being an emergency as evaluated by the crew. The last message sent by the SAN JUAN stated: Mishap controlled; already submerged; proceeding to Mar del Plata port. I will notify of any further developments of the casualty that has occurred.


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