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Argentine Naval Prefecture

The Argentine Naval Prefecture, in Spanish Prefectura Naval Argentina or PNA, is a service of the Argentine Interior Ministry charged with protecting the country's rivers and maritime territory. It therefore fulfills the functions of other countries' coast guards, and furthermore acts as a gendarmerie force policing navigable rivers.

According to the Argentine Constitution, the armed forces cannot intervene in internal civil conflicts, so the Prefecture is defined as a civilian "security force of a military nature". It maintains a functional relationship with the Ministry of Defense, as part of both the National Defense System and the Interior Security System. It therefore maintains capabilities arising from the demands required by joint military planning with the armed forces.


The Prefecture was officially founded by the Argentine government in June 1810. The first commander of the force was Colonel Martin Jacobo Thompson.

The Prefecture had a minor role in the Falklands War . Two PNA patrol vessels, the Islas Malvinas (GC-82) and the Rio Iguazu (GC-83), were sent to provide an Argentine coastguard service to the islands. According to the Prefecture, Rio Iguazu came into contact with a British Sea Harrier aircraft on 21 May and one member of the vessel's crew was killed while firing a 12.7 mm machine gun at the British jet. The ship ran aground, but most of its cargo -among them two 105 mm howitzers- was recovered later. The crew of the patrol boat claimed the shooting down of the aircraft, but this was later proved to be unfounded. The sortie was actually carried out by two Sea Harriers of 800 Naval Air Squadron, N XZ460 and XZ499, which strafed the vessel with 30 mm cannon fire.Pook, Jerry: RAF Harrier Ground Attack - Falklands. Pen & Sword, 2006, page 69.

The patrol vessel Islas Malvinas was captured and operated by the Royal Navy, as HMS Tiger Bay.



The PNA is subordinate to the Ministry of Interior. The organization is headed by the National Naval Prefect (Prefecto Nacional Naval), currently Prefect-General Carlos Edgardo Fernandez, assisted by the Deputy National Naval Prefect (Subprefecto Nacional Naval), currently Prefect-General Ricardo Rodriguez.

The Prefecture's main facility is located in the Edificio Guardacostas (which translates as "the Coastguard Building") at 235 E. Madero Avenue, Buenos Aires.

The PNA headquarters is divided into three main departments, each headed by a Director-General with the rank of Prefecto General. These are each divided into a number of directorates, each headed by a Director with the rank of Prefect-General (Prefecto General).

Direccion General de Seguridad (Directorate-General of Security)

*Direccion de Operaciones (Directorate of Operations)

*Direccion de Policia de Seguridad de la Navegacion (Directorate of Navigation Security Police)

*Direccion de Policia Judicial, Proteccion Maritima y Puertos

*Direccion de Proteccion Ambiental (Directorate of Environmental Protection)

Direccion General de Logistica (Directorate-General of Logistics)

*Direccion de Personal (Directorate of Personnel)

*Direccion de Material (Directorate of Materiel)

*Direccion de Educacion (Directorate of Education)

*Direccion de Administracion Financiera (Directorate of Financial Administration)

*Direccion de Bienestar (Directorate of Welfare)

Direccion General de Planeamiento y Desarrollo (Directorate-General of Planning and Development)

*Direccion de Planeamiento (Directorate of Planning)

*Secretaria General

the Intelligence Service (Servicio de Inteligencia) is directly responsible to the National Naval Prefect and is also headed by a Prefect-General.


The PNA is divided into ten zones:

Alto Parana

Alto Uruguay

Parana Superior and Paraguay

Lower Uruguay

Lower Parana


Rio de la Plata

North Argentine Sea

South Argentine Sea

Lacustre and Comahu


The highest rank of the service, Prefect-General, is held by both the National Naval Prefect and Deputy National Naval Prefect, as well as by many of the most senior officers of the prefecture, such as the heads of the different directrates of the national headquarters. While the rank itself equals that of Rear Admiral in the Argentine Navy, the National Naval Prefect and the Deputy National Naval Prefect titles are both equated to the ranks of Admiral and Vice Admiral, respectively, and wear corresponding insignia.

Officer ranks are as follows:

The non-commissioned officer and enlisted ranks of the Prefecture are as follows:

Aircraft Inventory

The PNA operates a small air fleet of 17 aircraft, including 10 helicopters.

! style="text-align: left; background: aacccc;"|Aircraft

! style="text-align: left; background: aacccc;"|Origin

! style="text-align: left; background: aacccc;"|Type

! style="text-align: left; background: aacccc;"|Versions

! style="text-align: left; background: aacccc;"|In serviceAviation Week & Space Technology 2009, 26 JAN 2009 Web.25 Jul 2009. .

! style="text-align: left; background: aacccc;"|Notes

|----- | Aerospatiale Puma | | transport helicopter | SA 330L | 1 | |----- | CASA C-212 Aviocar | | maritime patrol / transport | C-212-300 | 5 | |----- | Aerospatiale Dauphin | | search and rescue | AS 365N2 | 3 | |----- | Piper Cherokee | | utility | PA-28 | 2 | |----- | Schweizer 300 | | utility helicopter | 300C | 6 |

Illegal fishing

The Prefectura is constantly battling illegal fishing vessels in the Argentine Exclusive Economic Zone (ZEE), mostly from eastern countries. The Argentine Naval Aviation also collaborates in detection of such ships with their P-3 Orion and Beechcraft 200 Cormoran maritime surveillance aircraft.

See also

Argentine Federal Police

Argentine National Gendarmerie

Buenos Aires Provincial Police

Santa Fe Provincial Police

Interior Security System

Sinking of the Chian-der 3

External links

Official website

International Lifeboat Federation

Article Un guardacostas argentino hunde un pesquero de Taiwan en aguas reclamadas por Buenos Aires in Spanish newspaper El Pais on 30. May 1986 about bombardment and sinking of an Taiwan trawler by the Argentine Naval Prefecture (in Spanish Language)

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Argentine Naval Prefecture

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