Navy passed on all known information on 1968 submarine disaster to bereaved families

INS Dakar sunk off Crete in 1968 en route to Haifa naval base; Navy Chief: The families were thirsty for this information.

August 31, 2015 17:44
1 minute read.
Dakar in 1944

Dakar in 1944 as the Royal Navy's HMS Totem. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)


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The Israel Navy has in recent days passed all of the known information on the tragic fate of the INS Dakar to family members who lost loves ones onboard, following decades of investigation.

The INS Dakar was purchased by Israel from the Royal Navy and set out on its maiden voyage from England to Israel in January 1968. Its last radio call was transmitted on January 25, before the boat sank to the sea floor southeast of Crete. All 69 sailors onboard were killed.

Israel recovered the submarine’s wreckage in 1999.

Navy V.-Adm. Ram Rothberg said on Monday that after receiving a letter from the wife of a sailor killed in the incident, asking for all available information, he issued an order for the data to be compiled and passed on to the families.

Although the data reveals no new conclusions on the cause of the sinking, it allows the families unprecedented access into the case materials.

“This is a complex event,” Rothberg said during a conference call with reporters. “It brings up many questions from that time, questions on why the submarine sank.”

There are two leading theories to answer that question, he said. The first is that a technical or professional error led to a catastrophic systems failure. The second is that the submarine’s snorkel was struck by a vessel on the night of its sinking, during a violent storm, possibly causing water to begin seeping in. Deliberate attack has been ruled out, Rothberg said.

During a meeting with relatives of the sailors, Rothberg, together with current and past commanders of the Seventh Flotilla, answered questions.

“Today, we operate the most advanced vessels in the world. They have supervision systems and self-rescue capabilities for every situation. We are also practicing international rescue techniques, and are part of an open Internet submarine safety forum, for all navies that operate submarines,” he added.

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