ARA San Juan: The Argentinian Navy is Reporting All Hands Lost

The ARA San Juan went missing on November 15th. Provided it didn’t sink below its crush depth, and without being able to surface and employ her snorkel, it had seven days of oxygen reserves. Those reserves would have been exhausted yesterday and it appears that the Argentinian Navy has come to the conclusion that the ARA San Juan is lost. The San Juan carried a crew of forty-four, including Argentina’s first female submariner.

Since it was first written in the mid 19th Century, a number of additional verses have been written by different authors for the Navy Hymn. These cover naval aviators, Coast Guardsmen, naval aviators who have become astronauts, Sea Bees, and, of course, submariners. Here is the specific verse penned for the members of the silent service:

Lord God, our power evermore,
Whose arm doth reach the ocean floor,
Dive with our men beneath the sea;
Traverse the depths protectively.
O hear us when we pray, and keep
Them safe from peril in the deep.
David B. Miller (1965)

37 replies
  1. 1
    debbie says:

    Horrible beyond words.

  2. 2
    aangus says:

    Oh, crap!

    That is all.

  3. 3
    NuetronFlux says:

    I shed a tear for my sisters and brothers in the silent service. RIP.

  4. 4
    aangus says:



  5. 5
    debit says:

    How awful.

  6. 6
    Adria McDowell says:

    God….that is terrible. RIP.

  7. 7
    raven says:

    I made a video of pics from my dad’s WW2 Navy service pictures and some shots of him at the dedication of the Pacific Wing of the D-Day (now WW2 Museum) in New Orleans and I used the Navy Hymn to end it. Big mistake, when I gave it to him he couldn’t stop crying.

  8. 8
    JPL says:

    I still remember sitting at the kitchen table with my parents listening to the radio news, when the USS thresher went missing. How sad.

  9. 9
    JanieM says:

    Sadness and tears.

  10. 10
    JMG says:

    A tragedy. No more I can say.

  11. 11
    Jamey says:

    SSBN 625 gold crew. Reactor operator. Nothing hits me harder. I can think of no worse way to go. Those poor bastards.

  12. 12
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Terrible. My son in law was in the silent service, and I know how hard it was for my daughter to go weeks or months with no word and no knowledge.

  13. 13
    GregB says:

    Sad, sad news.

  14. 14
    raven says:

    @Jamey: Just to help folks out:

    TRIDENT submarines, like all previous SSBN’s, have two separate identical crews (called “blue” and “gold” for the Navy colors) who alternate manning the boat. This arrangement allows for maximum utilization of the ship at sea, while managing to maintain quality of life for the assigned crew members. While one crew takes the boat to sea on its regular cycle of refit and a two month patrol, the other is back at Kings Bay. There, the (off) crew members have a two-week “R and R” period following their two-month confinement in the submarine. They then undergo intensive refresher training in preparation for the next patrol.
    The SSBN cycle repeats every 200 days. This means that each cycle will appear to move back by 35 days. This allows the crew to be home for holidays and the seasons they may have missed the previous year. Over a nominal three year tour, each crew member will have the opportunity to be home for two holiday seasons.

  15. 15
    Derelict says:

    The loss of any boat is felt by every submariner no matter what flag he or she might sail under. The crew of the San Juan will remain on patrol forever.

  16. 16
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Tristeza profunda indeed. Indescribably sad. May all who were lost in the ocean depths be granted a peaceful eternal rest, and may comfort come to their loved ones.

  17. 17
    Jay C says:

    So sad. The “Silent Service” has always been (since the beginnings of modern navies) the riskiest and most-dangerous of the seagoing services. Even (as we see) in peacetime. God rest ARA San Juan and her crew.

  18. 18
    Mike in NC says:

    Terrible news about those brave submariners. May they rest in peace.

  19. 19
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I have no connection to the Navy, but I’ve never in my life been able to hear “Eternal Father, Strong to Save” without dissolving in tears.

  20. 20
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Devastating news for families and loved ones of the deceased.

  21. 21
    rikyrah says:

    RIP to all aboard 😥😥

  22. 22
    JPL says:

    Did our president offer his thoughts and prayers?

  23. 23
    Elizabelle says:

    Very sad. May they rest in peace in the waters in which they served.

    Argentina only had three submarines (?). This one was involved in interdicting offshore fishing by Asian and Spanish fleets.

    I hope the sailors perished very quickly. Is the thinking it was a hull implosion, which sounds instantaneous? Painful to think of oxygen depletion.


  24. 24
    CaseyL says:

    Terrible, terrible news.

  25. 25
    mike in dc says:

    RIP. Here’s hoping it happened quickly.

  26. 26
    Mary G says:

    The poor relatives. The NYT has a story of their grief and anger.

    On Thursday morning came the crushing news: An explosion had been recorded deep in the Atlantic Ocean near where the submarine was traveling, only a few hours after the vessel’s last communication. Some relatives fainted. Some screamed at the naval officers. Others sobbed loudly.

    There was also anger. Families said the navy had mismanaged the situation by waiting to start a full-scale search and by dangling reports of possible satellite phone calls from the ship, which turned out to be false. Perhaps worst of all, they said, Argentina had let its military degrade to the point of recklessness.

    “For 15 years, the navy has been neglected,” said Itatí Leguizamón, the wife of Germán Oscar Suárez, a radar operator on the vessel.

    As if to add insult to injury, the explosion came to light only after analysts from the United States government and an international nuclear weapons monitor detected it and told the Argentines. Vessels from the United States, Britain, Brazil and Chile have been combing the seas as part of the search; the Argentine Navy’s four P3-B maritime patrol aircraft have been grounded and unavailable for deployment, according to Jane’s Research.

    ETA forgot the link, sorry.

  27. 27
    Felonius Monk says:

    Very sad. Brings back memories of the USS Thresher in 1963.

  28. 28
    Jamey says:

    @raven: thanks Raven. We are a pretty exclusive club, not everyone will get the lingo. There is much more to say, but I don’t know how to say it.

  29. 29
    J R in WV says:

    While I was never a submariner, assigned to a submarine, I was on board active USN diesel submarines while posted on board AS-16 tending the last squadron of diesel subs in our navy. These boats were professionally maintained by trained technicians, and were being offered for sale to allied nations while I was on board.

    I moved cargo and weapons from my ship onto the subs of the squadron. I’m thankful for the friends we had dinner with, and feel hurt for those who lost their loved ones on board the ARA San Juan. I’m a little surprised how painful this final word actually is.

    I thank you, Adam, for this sad information.

    I can’t say any more about this sad event tonight.

  30. 30
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jamey: Fair winds and following seas.

  31. 31
    Jay says:

    I worked for a Commercial Subsea Corp for a while. We made DSRV’s, suits, tools, ROV’s, data networks.

    I remember both the Kursk and Mir accidents. In both cases, we were working around the clock to ship stuff out while the brass, worked the phones and networks to try to get permission for us to ship our assets out there, to help.

  32. 32
    The Lodger says:

    Sad news. My condolences to all submariners everywhere.

  33. 33
    Manyakitty says:

    What tragic news. May their families find peace.

  34. 34
    Comrade Colette Collaboratrice says:

    Goddamn it. So sad. My dad served on USN diesel boats throughout the Vietnam War. I’ve sung that verse of the Navy Hymn in chapel more times than I can recall – and spent Saturday afternoons doing my homework in the wardroom while he was on watch just as often. Navies are families. I mourn with them.

  35. 35
    d58826 says:

    Always cry when I listen to that song.

    May they RIP

  36. 36
    d58826 says:

    @JPL: IIRC he did in a tweet in which he mainly took credit (naturally) for deploying USN deep water search/recovery assets .

  37. 37
    Tehanu says:


    I do have connections with the Navy: my uncle, cousin, and brother were all Navy men, though they all came home after their service. But “Eternal Father, Strong to Save” always makes me cry too, because the first time I ever heard it was during JFK’s funeral.

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