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Families’ search for unanswered questions after missing sub found

by admin   |   Posted on Monday, November 19th, 2018

 

Family members of the crew | REUTERS

Although the search for an Argentine Navy submarine that went missing a year ago off the country’s Atlantic Coast ended when it was discovered by a private company on Friday (November 16), the family of the crew continue to have questions about their loved ones.

The ARA San Juan submarine was discovered by marine tracking contractor Ocean Infinity, 907 meters (2,975 feet) below the ocean surface. The vessel was found in an underwater canyon with its tail partially “imploded,” Argentina’s Defense Minister Oscar Aguad said on Saturday (November 17).

The wife of one of the crew members on Sunday (November 18) said, “I’m demanding that they refloat the submarine. I need proof of my husband, I need something from him because it’s the only way that I will be able to rest and for him to rest in peace and to be able to give an answer to an eight-year-old boy that is still waiting for his dad.”

At a Saturday (November 17) news conference Aguad said he could neither confirm nor deny if the vessel could be recovered, but said the government did “not have the means to raise the submarine.”

The disappearance gripped the nation’s attention as the government struggled to provide information about the tragedy.

The disaster spurred soul-searching over the state of the military in Argentina, which after a series of financial crises has one of Latin America’s smallest defense budgets relative to the size of its economy. Some families of missing crew members blamed the government for underfunding the Navy. — Reuters

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Uruguay sees opportunity to learn from massive power outage

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, June 17th, 2019

The president of Uruguay’s government-owned utility UTE said on Sunday (June 16) that the massive power failure that began in Argentina and left tens of millions in South America without power would be an opportunity to improve the country’s power systems.

Speaking at a news conference in Montevideo, UTE head Gonzalo Casaravilla said: “this instance is going to be an opportunity because it placed our entire system at the same time in a situation that will definitely allow us to draw conclusions from.”

“We are in the middle of this event. Let’s keep in mind that Argentina is slowly recovering its system. We are absolutely on guard, in a state of alarm, to follow along in that process. We’ll keep you up to date,” he added.

Argentina’s grid “collapsed” around 7 a.m. local time (1100 GMT), leaving the entire country without power and cutting electricity to much of neighboring Uruguay and swaths of Paraguay, as well.

Energy distributors in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, whose populations total nearly 55 million, said power was being quickly restored to major cities and heavily populated coastal regions, including Montevideo and Buenos Aires.

UTE said it had restored power to 75% of the country by 1:30 p.m. local time (1730 GMT).

It told its customers in a statement that there existed “no other examples of such events like this in recent years.” (REUTERS)

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Argentines struggle as ‘unprecedented’ power failure strikes country

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, June 17th, 2019

Courtesy : Reuters

Argentine President Mauricio Macri called the massive blackout that left tens of millions in South America without power on Sunday (June 15) “unprecedented,” and promised a thorough investigation.

Argentina’s grid “collapsed” around 7 a.m. local time (1100 GMT), leaving the entire country without power, Argentina’s Energy Secretariat said.

The outage also cut electricity to much of neighboring Uruguay and swaths of Paraguay, and shut down YPF’s La Plata refinery, Argentina’s largest.

Macri said the blackout had been prompted by a failure in the country’s coastal grid but said that officials still did not know what had caused the problem.

Half of Argentina had power by mid-afternoon, Macri said.

Energy distributors in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, whose populations total nearly 55 million, said power was being quickly restored to major cities and heavily populated coastal regions, including Montevideo and Buenos Aires.

The blackout comes amid a deepening economic crisis in Argentina that has left nearly a third of the country in poverty, pushed interest rates skyward and sent the peso tumbling against the dollar, prompting mass protests throughout the country.

The massive blackout on Father’s Day left Buenos Aires dark early this morning, hobbling public transportation, cutting off water supply and crippling phone and internet communications across the city. (REUTERS)

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Trash found littering ocean floor in deepest-ever sub dive

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 14th, 2019

The boat that carried retired naval officer, Victor Vescovo,
and crew in their exploration in the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench

On the deepest dive ever made by a human inside a submarine, a Texas investor and explorer found something he could have found in the gutter of nearly any street in the world: trash.

The expedition is being filmed for a discovery channel documentary series.

Victor Vescovo, a retired naval officer, said he made the unsettling discovery as he descended nearly 6.8 miles to a point in the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench that is the deepest place on earth.

His dive went 52 feet lower than the previous deepest descent in the trench in 1960.

Vescovo found undiscovered species as he visited places no human had gone before.

On one occasion, he spent four hours on the floor of the trench, viewing sea life ranging from shrimp-like anthropods with long legs and antennae to translucent “sea pigs” similar to a sea cucumber.

He also saw angular metal or plastic objects, one with writing on it.

“It wasn’t completely surprising although it was very disappointing to see obvious human contamination of the deepest point in the ocean,” Vescovo said.

Plastic waste has reached epidemic proportions in the world’s oceans with an estimated 100 million tonnes dumped there to date, according to the United Nations.

Scientists have found large amounts of microplastic in the guts of deep-dwelling ocean mammals like whales.

Vescovo hoped his discovery of trash in the Mariana Trench would raise awareness about dumping in the oceans and pressure governments to better enforce existing regulations, or put new ones in place.

“I think that there are so many regulations that are not enforced or they’re simply not in place. They can control contamination going into the ocean because once it goes into the ocean it’ll be degraded and it’ll flow all over the world because the currents will carry it that way,” Vescovo said.

In the last three weeks, the expedition has made four dives in the Mariana Trench in his submarine, “DSV limiting factor,” collecting biological and rock samples.

It was the third time humans have dived to the deepest point in the ocean, known as challenger deep. (REUTERS)

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