The search for a missing Argentinian submarine that has been lost for 15 days will continue but the rescue element of the mission for 44 crew members on board has ended, the country's navy says.
The submarine, ARA San Juan was returning from a routine mission to Ushuaia, near the southernmost tip of South America, when it reported an "electrical breakdown".
Balbi said the navy had allowed almost double the amount of time it would have been possible for the crew to stay alive if the submarine was under water.
The crew had about seven to 10 days worth of oxygen to survive on the submarine if the vessel remained intact.
Some relatives of the crew broke into tears after they received the news.
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The navy has said the vessel's captain reported that water entered the snorkel and caused one of the submarine's batteries to short circuit.
Contact with the vessel was lost as San Juan travelled from Ushuaia to Mar del Plata - nearly exclusively by the country's coast.
"I don't understand this arbitrary and unjustified decision", Luis Tagliapietra, the father of 27-year-old crew member Alejandro Tagliapietra, told local reporters.
Balbi said 28 ships, nine planes and 4,000 people from 18 countries were involved in the search covering 557,000 nautical miles; more, including radar monitoring. The Argentine Navy said an intensive search for it began in the night hours of November 16.
At the same time, Balbi insisted that efforts to find the German-built ARA San Juan would continue to a maximum depth of 500 meters - an announcement met with anger by relatives of the missing 44 crew. Experts say refits can be hard because they involve integrating systems produced by different manufacturers, and even the tiniest mistake during the cutting phase can put the safety of the ship and crew at risk. Others took to social media to pay homage to their loved ones.