It has been 13 days since the Argentinean submarine ARA San Juan went missing while sailing home base at Mar del Plata. Since then, a large scale international search and rescue mission has been taking place, with 13 countries including the US, UK and Chinese navies taking part in the rescue efforts.

Despite this, very little headway has been made, and the vessel has still not been discovered since its last communication on 15 November.

The ARA San Juan had been called back to port after the commander informed of a complication with one of the batteries. "Entry of seawater by ventilation system to battery tank No. 3 caused a short circuit and the beginning of a fire in the balcony of battery bars, bow batteries out of service, at the time of immersion, propelling with a split circuit. I will keep staff informed," Pedro Martín Fernández informed in a message via radio frequency.

Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi said that other batteries could have been used to direct the submarine to safety, describing the situation as "smoke without flames". He said the issue was rectified and the battery, isolated.

According to early reports, the submarine had enough oxygen supply to last 10 days. Now, families of the 44-member crew have started to lose hope of finding any survivors. "There is no way they are alive," Itatí Leguizamón, wife of crew member German Suárez, told reporters. "It is not that I want this. I love him. I adore him. He left his mother and sister behind, but there is no sense in being stubborn.

"The other families are attacking me for what I am saying," she added, "but why have they not found it yet? Why don't they tell us the truth?"

While loved ones are turning doubtful of any positive outcome, the Argentine navy is hopeful that they "could still be alive in an extreme survival situation".

Argentine military submarine ARA San Juan
The Argentine military submarine ARA San Juan and crew are seen leaving the port of Buenos Aires, Argentina on 2 June, 2014 Armada Argentina/Handout via REUTERS