Relatives of the 44 crew members aboard Argentina's ARA San Juan submarine when it vanished from radar in November last year have launched a month-long vigil to protest the government's apparent indifference to their plight.
Camped in front of the Casa Rosa, seat of the Argentine government, the families are accusing the government of failing to provide answers about the submarine's fate, despite repeated pleas for information.
In what appeared to be a very deliberate snub, one official who walked past the encampment – Carlos Arroyo – allegedly refused to even acknowledge the protesters' presence.
Marcelo Moyano, wife of missing crew member Hernan Rodriguez, said Arroyo refused to stop and address the relatives: "When it happened, we were leaving the tent because we were coming to take a bath in the hotel.
"He did not even look as if to say 'That is the flag of the 44,' when he knows that the fight has also been carried out in Mar del Plata (the submarine's home naval base).
"It is very painful for our representatives to act in this way: 44 compatriots ventured out to defend Argentina's sovereignty, but these rulers do not care; they try to avoid the situation without committing themselves."
The ARA San Juan disappeared along with her 44 crew on November 15, 200 kilometers off the coast of Chubut in the Argentine Sea.
Contact with the crew was lost and the rescue mission was aborted two weeks later in favor of attempts to recover the wreckage, which has yet to be found.
An official report into the incident concluded that fire broke out in the battery tank located in the San Juan's bow. Water had entered through the sub's snorkel, triggering what was swiftly to become a fatal incident.
Despite the influx of water, the vessel dove to a greater depth and attempted to continue the journey to its home naval base Mar del Plata, 400 kilometers south of the capital Buenos Aires.
Investigators told the Nacion newspaper that the fires most likely spread throughout the stricken submarine, forcing the crew to battle the blaze in ferocious weather conditions.
According to their report, the vessel eventually imploded – killing the 44 crew almost instantly and then sinking into the depths.