Reply To: The Golfo Nuevo Submarine Mysteries, 1958 and 1960

Home Forums Nautical Research: 1830 – Present Day The Golfo Nuevo Submarine Mysteries, 1958 and 1960 Reply To: The Golfo Nuevo Submarine Mysteries, 1958 and 1960

Geoffrey Brooks

    Please note that we will exploring this topic in a series on maritime myths and legends in the Mariner’s Mirror Podcast. Enjoy! Dr Sam Willis, Editor.


    At 0910 hrs on 30 January 1960 in Golfo Nuevo, the corvettes Murature and King were engaged in routine cadet training exercises under the supervision of the destroyer Cervantes when a submerged submarine was detected. Having received no reply to their challenge, a chase ensued in which the submarine showed its superior speed and manouevrability submerged. The pursuiit was abandoned once the submarine left Argentine territorial waters.

    That same evening near Puerto Madryn inside Golfo Nuevo a fresh contact was made. Because this submarine seemed noisier and slower than the first (10 knots as opposed to 17) it was thought to be a second intruder.

    Over the 36 hours from the first contact until 2150 hrs on 31 January, only forty sonar bleeps or hydrophone contacts were recorded. “The basic element required to plot the course of the submarine automatically was always absent” (Cosentino, p.59). Naval aircraft dropped a number of random depth charges and bombs along the coastal shallows.

    The “hunt” and “hue and cry” for these submarines involved huge numbers of warships and aircraft patrolling and searching night and day over the next three weeks, and after 15 February using advanced US Navy anti-submarine weaponry. The mysterious fact emerges, however, that the corvettes Murature and King were the only naval vessels to make contact and attack an intruder submarine, and always close inshore within sight of the meseta.

    They are sister ships (I have seem them both at the Buenos Aires naval arsenal this year 2015) still in service for training purposes. They were designed and built in 1944 as minesweepers but later converted for anti-submarine work. Details in 1960:

    Builder: Rio Santiago Naval Shipyard, BsAs province, Argentina.
    Dimensions: 76.8 x 8.84 x 4.17 metres
    Armament: 3 x 105 mm, 2 x 40 mm guns
    Anti-submarine armament: 4 x depth charge mortars, 2 ramps on poop for 2 charges each, SQSA sonar, and hydrophone installation.
    Machinery: 2 x Werkspoor diesels, 2-shaft, top speed 15 knots.
    Crew: 130

    On 2 February 1960 the national daily La NaciĆ³n reported “The Navy has sent a number of units in search of a submerged object detected last Saturday in waters of Argentina jurisdiction” and the following day Navy Secretary Clement confirmed, as before in 1958, “there are two boats present in Golfo Nuevo, we know this because this type of boat usually operates in pairs.”