The families of 44 crew members on board a submarine that has been lost for 16 days are demanding that Argentina's navy reverses its decision to stop looking for survivors.
The navy said that the search was no longer considered a rescue mission but it would continue looking for the missing sub.
Experts said the crew only had up to 10 days of oxygen if the sub remained intact under the sea.
Relatives of the lost mariners of San Juan comfort each other as it is announced the search for survivors is over
Relatives of crew member Gabriel Rodriguez of the missing ARA San Juan submarine leave the navy base in Mar del Plata
An explosion was also detected near the time and place where the ARA San Juan went missing on November 15.
Relatives of the crew met Argentina's defence minister and the navy chief on Friday at the sub's naval base in the coastal city of Mar del Plata. Some held pictures of their loved ones.
Captain Enrique Babi said on Thursday that he was ending rescue efforts for the 44 missing crew of ARA San Juan more than two weeks after it vanished.
Search efforts will continue, he said, but are now solely focused on recovering the wreck of the vessel from somewhere on the sea bed.
Captain Enrique Babi, head of the search operation for the ARA San Juan, said on Thursday that the navy will be ending its rescue mission more than two weeks after the sub vanished
The Navy will continue searching for the wreckage of the vessel, Babi said, but admitted there are now no hopes of finding the 44 crew alive
Family members of the missing crew members collapsed in grief as Babi broke the news at the naval base in Mar del Plata, where the sub was travelling before it vanished
He said the rescue efforts had already been 'extended for more than twice what is estimated for a rescue.'
'We've had 28 ships, nine aircraft, 4,000 people involved, 18 countries supporting,' he added.
'Despite the magnitude of these efforts, we've been unable to find the submarine.'
Some relatives of the crew broke into tears after they received the news.
'I don't understand this arbitrary and unjustified decision,' Luis Tagliapietra, the father of 27-year-old crew member Alejandro Tagliapietra, told local TV.
'It's unusually cruel. Every day, it's a new blow. I'm destroyed.'
Among the missing, now presumed dead, is 35-year-old Eliana