BUENOS AIRES, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- Argentine Navy officials agreed to meet on Thursday with families of the 44-member crew that perished when their submarine sank in the South Atlantic in mid-November.
"On Thursday afternoon, 14 family members will be transported from the Mar de Plata Naval Base to the Search Coordinating Center at the Belgrano Port Naval Base," located 650 kilometers to the south of Buenos Aires, the navy said in a statement.
The meeting was aimed at updating the families on the status of the naval operation to locate the vessel and retrieve the bodies of the victims, the navy said.
"They will be received by the commander of training and recruitment, and he will inform them on the criteria used to identify the search area and the different sweeping areas assigned to all the ships in the past 51 days nonstop," the navy said.
The search for the submarine is ongoing, with three ships currently sweeping the sea bottom where officials believe the ARA San Juan submarine may have landed, following an unidentified explosion.
On Tuesday, the navy pledged to continue to pay the crew's wages to their grieving families as a way to show the navy's "commitment," but it is the first time naval officials have agreed to meet with them.
The submarine was last detected in the San Jorge Gulf, 240 nautical miles (432 kilometers) southeast of the Valdes Peninsula on Argentina's south coast.