RV Atlantis is Redirected to Help Search for Missing Argentine Submarine

RV Atlantis

RV Atlantis, operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), was diverted Nov. 21 to help search for the missing Argentine submarine, ARG San Juan, which went missing Nov. 15 while traveling from the port of Ushuaia to the city of Mar del Plata, with 44 crew members aboard.

Atlantis was en route to a planned oceanographic mission in the South Atlantic when U.S. Navy officials directed it to the area where communications were last received from the submarine. The advanced research vessel arrived in the area at 2:00 p.m. Nov. 21 and immediately began search operations using the ship’s sophisticated multibeam sonar and underwater communications systems. The multibeam sonar is usually used to map the seafloor, by directing a fan-shape cone of sound waves that reflect off the ocean bottom. In this case, the sonar is looking to detect the submarine, which may be on the seafloor.

The ship also used its underwater communication system, which is like an underwater telephone: It has two-way capability to listen for sounds from the ocean and also to transmit sounds into the ocean that can be detected by submariners.

Atlantis is owned by the U.S. Navy and operated by WHOI under a charter agreement.

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