Missing Argentine navy submarine ARA San Juan 'imploded' at sea

Argentina's President Mauricio Macri speaks during the one year anniversary ceremony of the disappearance of the ARA San Juan submarine

"It appears to be complete, but it obviously imploded", Gabriel Attis, head of the Mar del Plata naval base, is reported to have said. "We sincerely hope that locating the resting place of the ARA San will be of some comfort to them", the statement said.

"The #MinisterioDeDefensa and the #ArmadaArgentina report that on this day, having investigated the point of interest No. 24 reported by Ocean Infinity, through observation made with a ROV at 800 metres deep, the #AraSanJuan has been positively identified", a post read.

Last August, Argentina's government hired Ocean Infinity to search for the wreckage, with a promised $7.5 million payout if the submarine was found.

During the 1976-1983 military dictatorship, some navy facilities, like the one at Mar del Plata, served as detention and torture centers, and an estimated 30,000 people disappeared.

Given the poor visibility at the site, the ministry said it only had preliminary information about the state of the submarine, which was scattered in pieces on the ocean floor.

Ocean Infinity, a USA company that can search and map the seabed, was hired by Argentina following the failure of an global operation to find the vessel after it went missing in the South Atlantic. Photo images revealed it to be the submarine, the ARA San Juan.

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The discovery comes just two days after families of the 44 missing sailors held a ceremony to mark the one-year anniversary of the day the vessel sunk on November 15, 2017.

On Thursday, on the anniversary of its disappearance, President Mauricio Macri said the families of the submariners should not feel alone and delivered an "absolute and non-negotiable commitment" to find "the truth". The company was responsible for the search for the missing vessel and was commissioned by the Argentine government.

The German-built diesel-electric TR-1700 class submarine dated from the mid-1980s and had been most recently refurbished in 2014.

Federal court testimony shows that a number of naval officials are under investigation for allegedly allowing the submarine to take an extended mission when they were aware of mechanic problems. During the $12m (£9m) retrofitting, the vessel was cut in half and had its engines and batteries replaced.

After the sub went missing, the Vienna-based Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) said it had detected a noise a few hours after the vessel's last contact.

Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi told reporters a year ago that water had entered the submarine's snorkel.

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