HUELVA, Spain – A former rugby player for a southwestern Spanish club was one of a crew of 44 seamen who embarked on the Argentine Navy submarine ARA San Juan that disappeared during a combined air and sea naval exercise in the South Atlantic Ocean, the club said on Tuesday.
Renzo David Martin Silva, an Argentine career submariner, had been a player for Rugby club Bifesa Tartessos of Huelva, a part of the province of Andalusia that faces the Atlantic, the club told EFE.
According to the club, its members and players were “shocked” after hearing of the Argentine’s fate, adding he used to play half a season for it “every year, without fail, whenever he traveled from Argentina to Spain to visit his parents.”
The submarine went missing during the exercises on Nov. 15.
The player’s father, Patricio Martin, an implant dentist, had in 2012 become coach at the club for three seasons and was known in Huelva’s sporting circles as “Pato” (Duck, in Spanish).
The club said Martin had some time ago said he was returning to Argentina but “did not disclose the reason.”
Last weekend, a minute of silence was held during various minor-league rugby matches in memory of Martin, although his former club is waiting for his father’s return to explore the possibility of organizing a proper homage.
Renzo’s parents are an Argentine couple who hail from the inland province of Mendoza next to the Andes Mountains who, according to Spanish newspaper ABC, arrived in Huelva some years ago to make a living in Spain, leaving Renzo and his sister back in Argentina.
A passion for rugby was shared by father and son, and this led Renzo to join a local rugby club for a few months during his first visit to Spain.
He became friends with his fellow players and this led to him playing every year during his family reunions in Spain.