Tensions between Navy chief Admiral Marcelo Srur and Defence Minister Oscar Aguad have reached boiling point with the Mauricio Macri government considering a significant shake up to the Navy's hierarchy.
Defence Minister Oscar Aguad has taken steps to investigate the Navy’s mishandling of the ARA San Juan submarine crisis and will take steps to “relieve” its chief, Admiral Marcelo Srur, government sources revealed Friday.
The government will not apply changes to the Navy’s hierarchy “until the case of the missing submarine is resolved and we know what happened”, sources told La Nación.
Aguad is reported to have long been planning an overhaul of the Armed Forces.
Sources closes to Aguad have expressed frustration over a
communication break-down between the Navy and the Defence Ministry.
Aguad claims to have learned of the possible explosion that affected the
submarine the day of its disappearance via news media.
Family members of the 44 missing officers reacted with outrage at the Navy’s announcement on Thursday confirming that an unusual noise heard in the Atlantic near the last known position of a missing submarine appeared to be an explosion.
“An anomalous, singular, short, violent and non-nuclear event consistent with an explosion,” occurred shortly after the last communication of the San Juan and its 44 crew, Navy spokesman Captain Enrique Balbi told a press conference in Buenos Aires.
“I feel cheated,” said Itati Leguizamon, whose husband German Suarez was a sonar operator on the ARA San Juan.
“The ambassador is also a member of a nuclear test control organisation that has a network to detect nuclear tests,” Balbi confirmed at the press conference.
Speaking to Radio Mitre, Grossi seemed to indicate that the report had come from the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO), an organisation that detects nuclear testing.
“They made a report which I conveyed to Chancellor [Jorge] Faurie and [Defence Minister Oscar] Aguad in which it said that a phenomenon was detected three hours after the last communication [from the ship.”
“The technical conclusion is that it was a singular event of high intensity and that it was not consistent with [normal] marine noises or earthquakes,” he added, saying it was similar to “other underwater explosions” that had been registered in the past.
Russia joins in
Argentina is leading an air-and-sea search to try to still find the sub. It is getting help from several countries now including Brazil, Britain, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Peru, Russia, the United States and Uruguay.
Russia was the latest navy to volunteer help, sending an oceanographic research ship as the operation shifted from rescue to recovery.