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The Argentine Navy has confirmed that seven ships are now braving three-meter waves to map the ocean floor where the ARA San Juan is most likely to be found.

A desperate global search continued Friday for a missing submarine in the southern Atlantic Ocean with a crew of 44 aboard.

Navy officials say a sound "consistent with an explosion" was recorded near the time and place that the submarine went missing and the vessel only had a week's supply of oxygen on board. Although the agency was more guarded on the cause.saying it detected a quote "unusual signal" underwater last week.

"Despite all the effort that has been carried out, we haven't been able to find the San Juan submarine", Balbi told reporters.

"Two days before setting sail, there was a check of the whole operating system", navy spokesman Enrique Balbi said as a news conference on Saturday.

But a multinational search and rescue effort continued Saturday, as a Norwegian ship carrying a USA undersea rescue module prepared to weigh anchor for the search zone, despite worsening weather.

'It's a hard moment for all, but obviously, especially for the families of the 44 crew members.

He also said that the search will continue around the clock.

Some relatives of the crew have claimed the navy put their loved ones at risk in a vessel that is more than 30 years old.

"The problem with being the loved one of someone who is missing is that the mourning process can not start, because they are still out there somewhere", local psychologist Guillermo Bruchstein said in a Saturday television interview. A Russian plane arrived in Argentina on Friday carrying search equipment capable of reaching depths of 6,000 meters.

President Mauricio Macri on Friday ordered an inquiry to "know the truth" about what happened to the San Juan.

The US Navy said it had deployed unmanned underwater vehicles, or "mini-subs" equipped with sonar, to join the search.