Documents reveal new details on Dakar sinking

State Archives release documents detailing possible causes behind the 1968 sinking of Israeli submarine, that killed 69.

Dakar submarine 88 248 (photo credit: Jerusalem Post Archives)
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 Haifa.
During the voyage, it mysteriously went under.
The vessel’s remains were found 14 years ago on the Mediterranean sea bed between Crete and Cyprus.
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.
Several 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 navy.
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.