The Minister of Defense, Jorge Taiana, led in the city of Mar del Plata an act of tribute to the 44 crew members of the submarine ARA San Juan on the sixth anniversary of the sinking of the ship in the South Atlantic, in which he assured that the sailors “have become a symbol for their families and for all Argentines.”
The minister also expressed that he shares with his relatives the opinion that the judicial case investigating the incident “is going too slowly.”
The event took place at the Submarine Force Museum, located on the North breakwater, next to the Naval Base of the seaside resort, the ship’s natural dock, and was attended by relatives of the submariners and Navy authorities.
As part of the anniversary, a monument was also inaugurated in memory of the sailors, where floral offerings were laid. The ceremony began with a religious service led by the chaplain of the Naval Base, Luis María Berthoud, with the presence of Taiana and the chief of the General Staff of the Navy, Julio Horacio Guardia.
Then the monument was inaugurated in the museum where the bronze propeller that the ARA San Juan used until 1995 was located, which at its base bears the legend “On eternal patrol”, and plaques were placed with the names of the 44 sailors.
The memorial was designed by the Technical Office of the Mar del Plata Naval Arsenal, which based the project on the 44-centimeter modulation that sized each part of the monument, which represents each of the crew members, according to the Argentine Navy.
Taina expressed at the closing of the ceremony that “it is a sad day because of the pain of the family members that always impacts, and at the same time shows their love, affection and permanence, and the drama of having them away.”
The minister assured that “the 44 have become a symbol not only for their families but for all Argentines, of people who gave their lives for the country in an unexpected way.”
“I think that saddens but makes Argentines proud, knowing that there are compatriots who have the will and sacrifice to risk their own lives as a service to the country to carry out the surveillance and control tasks that had been established for them,” he said.
He also highlighted the scholarships for primary, secondary and university studies that the State assigned to 54 children of the crew members: “It does not repair the pain but it helps those families who in many cases lost their personal breadwinner to have support and feel that society does not abandon them.”
Regarding the case investigating the sinking and possible criminal responsibilities, led by the federal judge of Calera Olivia, Marta Yáñez, Taiana said: “For me it is going too slow, and I think that is what the family members also share.”
“We would all like this to move forward and be finalized and not left without clarification,” he said.
Marcela Moyano, wife of submariner Hernán Rodríguez, also asked for “progress in the investigation,” and expressed the “fear that we will never know what happened.” “Like every anniversary, I lose my voice because of how it affects me and mobilizes me, and the fact that there is no progress in justice aggravates that feeling even more,” she said.
Numerous officials and political and social leaders remembered the deceased submariners. “The 44 crew members of the ARA San Juan will forever be in the hearts of the Argentine people,” said President Alberto Fernández.
“We keep alive the memory and honor of the 44 crew members of the submarine ARA San Juan. We will continue seeking the truth and demanding justice. A huge hug to all their families and comrades on this day of tribute and remembrance,” he noted, for his part, the Chief of Staff and candidate for vice president Agustín Rossi.
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