Even though the search for San Juan, the Argentine submarine reported missing on November 15 was officially called off, there are still ongoing attempts to find what may remain of it in the sea. Most recently Panther Plus, a Russian underwater drone, while exploring the search area for the missing sub, photographed a shipwreck lying on the seabed. Yet according to an Associated Press report which referred to the Argentine Navy, the find belonged in fact to a fishing vessel sunken much earlier than San Juan.

According to Enrique Balbi, a navy spokesman, the military regrets that the families of the missing seamen were reassured, as the news of the find was released before blurry photos taken by the Russian apparatus were properly analysed.

One of the images was given “priority” for review last Saturday as it showed a ship-like object estimated to be about 60m long which was located at 477m (1,565 feet) below sea level within the search area. The object's size first appeared to roughly match that of ARA San Juan which is 66m long.

San Juan, the went missing on 15 November after having successfully completed live torpedoes war games. It had 44 crew members aboard at the time of its disappearance. As Balbi said, “These are hours of intense pain and anguish [for relatives] in light of the loss of their loved ones, our 44 comrades.”

Argentina's missing submarine confirmed sunken with no survivors

Built in Germany by Thyssen Nordseewerke, the lightweight single-hull design San Juan was laid down in 1982 and launched the following year.

The submarine went missing as it was returning to its permanent base in Mar del Plata from the southern port of Ushuaia. According to the navy, the vessel’s captain reported water having entered the snorkel which caused one of the sub’s batteries to short circuit.

Within few hours of San Juan's last radio transmission and in the vicinity of the vessel's last known location an acoustic anomaly compatible with an explosion event was detected.

After an extensive search, some 200 nautical miles (370 km; 230 mi) southeast of San Jorge Gulf hopes of rescuing the crew alive were abandoned on 30 November, as this type of submarine carries oxygen for no more than seven days when submerged.

First female submarine officer aboard

The 44 servicemen on board the missing submarine included Eliana María Krawczyk, Argentina's first female submarine officer. Following these events, the Russian Defence Ministry decided to send Panther Plus, a new ship-based submarine drone to assist in search of San Juan.