Search Over for Argentine Warship Belgrano

National Geographic News
March 14, 2003

National Geographic has ended an expedition to find the General Belgrano, sunk by Britain's Royal Navy during the 1982 Malvinas/Falklands war.

After nearly two weeks at sea, in extreme Southern Ocean weather conditions, the expedition was unable to find the ship, which was believed to be located about 100 nautical miles (180 kilometers) off the coast of Tierra del Fuego in 13,800 feet (4,200 meters) of water.

The expedition, conducted in cooperation with the Argentine Navy, was extended in an effort to cover an expanded target area, encompassing a total of 300 square miles (800 square kilometers) and defined by data from several sources.

The expedition vessel Seacor Lenga is expected to return to port in Ushuaia, in southern Argentina on Saturday.

Expedition leader Curt Newport said: "Expeditions such as this are never easy and our operation here was no exception. As with all things lost at sea, you never know exactly where they sank."

Newport said the weather significantly hampered the search. The expedition encountered 30-foot (9-meter) seas and winds exceeding 60 knots (70 miles per hour, 110 kilometers per hour).

Some 323 Argentine lives were lost out of a crew of 1,093 when the Belgrano was torpedoed by the British nuclear submarine H.M.S. Conqueror on May 2, 1982. Veterans from both ships accompanied the National Geographic expedition.

The expedition will be included in a National Geographic documentary, The Sinking of the Belgrano, that will premiere on National Geographic Channel in the UK and Argentina in late May. In the UK and Argentina, subsequent broadcasts on Channel 4 and Channel 13, respectively, are planned. The film will premiere on the National Geographic Channel worldwide in June. In the U.S., it will premiere on PBS in July.

More details about the expedition will be provided at a media conference in Buenos Aires on Monday, March 17.

More about the expedition: Go>>

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