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ARGENTINA | 11-11-2020 18:22

Families of ARA San Juan crew file lawsuit against Macri

The families of the late crew of the ARA San Juan submarine on Wednesday denounced former president Mauricio Macri on charges of covering up the sinking of the vessel.

The families of the late crew of the ARA San Juan submarine on Wednesday denounced former president Mauricio Macri on charges of covering up the sinking of the vessel.

A lawsuit making the claim was lodged in federal courts by lawyer Valeria Carreras, after a retired Navy officer assured the Federal Appeals Court of Comodoro Rivadavia that as from December 5, 2017, the Mauricio Macri administration knew the location of the submarine, which had been missing since mid-November of that year.

The charges, which also extend to former Defence minister Oscar Aguad, come before the 12th chamber of federal courts.

The decisive testimony came from retired rear-admiral Enrique López Mazzeo, who affirmed that the Cambiemos government knew the exact location of the remains of the missing submarine as from December 5, 2017, thanks to the data supplied by the Chilean oceanographic vessel Cabo de Hornos, which included seeking authorisation from Britain to provide the robot to delve into the ravine in the seabed.

The families of the lost crew have long maintained that they were victims of "deceit … in being deprived of information."

Last Tuesday Comodoro Rivadavia Federal Appeals Prosecutor Norberto Bellver underlined that Macri "as [then] commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces was responsible for what happened" when the ARA San Juan sank with the deaths of its 44-strong crew.

"From the hearings one reaches the conclusion that the vessel should never have sailed in the state it was in, with problems in the periscope and a valve," Bellver had evaluated.

The explosion and sinking of the ARA San Juan submarine took place on November 15, 2017 when the vessel was returning from Ushuaia to Mar del Plata naval base.

The remains were found more than a year later over 900 metres below the South Atlantic waves in an underwater canyon of the continental shelf.

The ARA San Juan disappeared mysteriously in November 2017 when the vessel was returning from Ushuaia to Mar del Plata naval base. Its crushed wreckage was located almost exactly one year later on November 16, 2018, by the Seabed Constructor, a ship owned by US search firm Ocean Infinity, after a long, traumatic search for the submarine that drew attention from across the globe.

Navy officials later confirmed the submarine suffered an implosion, which caused the vessel to sink. The remains of the vessel now lay over 900 metres below the South Atlantic waves in an underwater canyon of the continental shelf, some 460 kilometres southeast of the Patagonian city of Comodoro Rivadavia.

Family members have previously expressed frustration over the lack of answers provided by the authorities, especially given the loss of so many naval officers.

– TIMES/NA

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