Dakar submarine 88 248.
(photo credit: Jerusalem Post Archives)
The State Archives released several documents on Sunday in connection with the
sinking of the Israel Navy submarine Dakar on January 25, 1968, that killed 69
crew members and left the nation in mourning.
The navy bought the
submarine from the British and it set sail from Portsmouth, England, for
During the voyage, it mysteriously went under.
remains were found 14 years ago on the Mediterranean sea bed between Crete and
The 16 documents being made public for the first time include
Foreign Ministry cables and the minutes of cabinet meetings detailing various
circumstances and proposed causes, however, the exact reason why the Dakar sunk
is still not clear.
The documents detail the navy’s highlighting of three
scenarios that may have led to the tragic event – a technical or human error; an
attack by a Soviet fleet patrolling the Mediterranean at the time that may have
been caught off guard; or a collision with another vessel.
documents have still not been cleared for publication, including the 87-page
report on the loss of the submarine handed over to thendefense minister Moshe
Dayan by then-OC Navy V.-Adm. Shlomo Arel on March 1, 1968. The report included
gathered facts, data and conclusions as they were known athen by the
Even though the Dakar’s last transmission was sent from a position
north of the Egyptian city of Alexandria, Arel told the government in 1968 that
it was unlikely that Egypt had sunk the ship.
The documents also detail
how Ankara did not allow Israel to search for the vessel along Turkey’s southern
coastline, although the Turks had agreed to carry out their own search with
guidance from the Israelis. The search operation was thought to have been
particularly sensitive at the time as it clashed with Turkey’s preparations for
the invasion of Cyprus, which only took place six years later in 1974.