Argentina's ill-fated ARA San Juan submarine navigated for 39 months uninterrupted, against the recommendation of its manufacturer, it has been revealed.
On Friday, the Federal Police of Argentina conducted four raids in connection with the investigation into the disappearance of the submarine.
The vessel, which went missing along with her 44 crew on November 15 in the waters of the Argentine Sea, had shown "flaws" before embarking on her final voyage, Federal Judge of Caleta Olivia Marta Yañez reported.
Yañez confirmed that he received documentation from auditors who inspected the submarine after half-life repairs, in which they warned of "shortcomings" in the vessel.
"I quoted the body of auditors who are the ones who informed me that there were flaws, but for that I need to see the elements and also know whether the Navy did something to alleviate those shortcomings," he said.
According to the auditors, the ARA San Juan underwent 39 months of uninterrupted navigation, against the recommendation of its manufacturer.
Plaintiff Luis Tagliapietra, a family member of one of the missing crew, said that in the last audit conducted by the Argentine Navy in September 2017 the "unseaworthiness status" of the submarine was determined.
Tagliapietra confirmed that the report prepared by auditor Eduardo Perez Bacchi warned that the ship was moved to a dry dock every 18 months "for a general review."
Faced with the mystery surrounding the submarine's disappearance, Judge Yañez ordered raids on the naval bases of Mar del Plata and Puerto Belgrano.
On January 29 he summoned the heads of the Argentine Navy as witnesses in the ongoing investigation into the submarine's disappearance.
"Between the last days of January and the first days of February there are witnesses mentioned in the case, whose identities I am trying to preserve," Yañez said.
The first statements are due to be heard on January 29 and five key witnesses are mentioned, whose testimonies are considered "quite relevant to elucidate, first, an inspection that took place in the ARA San Juan, from the Navy's auditing corps, prior to this outcome."