BUENOS AIRES – Argentina has fired the head of its navy a month after a submarine disappeared in the South Atlantic with 44 crew members onboard, a government spokesman said on Saturday.
Local paper La Nacion had reported earlier, citing anonymous sources, that Admiral Marcelo Eduardo Hipolito Srur was let go by the defense minister.
The ARA San Juan submarine has not been located and is thought to have exploded/imploded following malfunction of its batteries.
Admiral Marcelo Srur was the first known disciplinary action taken by President Mauricio Macri’s administration since contact was lost with the ARA San Juan on Nov. 15.
“It was decided to remove him,” a government spokesman said.
Families of the crew members criticized Macri’s government for not clearly communicating with them and for abandoning rescue efforts.
The navy said on Nov. 27 that water that entered the submarine’s snorkel caused its battery to short-circuit before it went missing. The navy had previously said international organizations detected a noise that could have been the submarine’s implosion the same day contact was lost.
Hope of rescuing survivors was abandoned on Nov. 30. The navy said it searched for double the amount of time the submarine would have had oxygen. An international search for the submarine is still underway.