(IDF Spokesman)
INS Dakar

Brigadier General Ram Rotberg

Brigadier General Ram Rothberg attends a memorial for Navy soldiers who died in action. (Gefen Reznik/IDF Spokesperson)

After years of uncertainty, families who lost loved ones aboard the Israeli navy’s INS Dakar submarine in 1968 finally received some answers.

The Israeli Navy has fully disclosed all the information in its possession on the INS Dakar, an Israeli navy submarine that sank near Crete in 1968 with 69 sailors on board while en route to the Haifa naval base. The incident had been shrouded in mystery for decades.

According to the navy, the submarine went down as a result of a technical failure or a possible accidental collision at sea with another vessel. Other options, such as an attack on the ship by the Soviets, were ruled out.

The INS Dakar was purchased by Israel from the British Royal Navy and set out on its maiden voyage from England to Israel on January 9, 1968. Its last radio signal was transmitted on January 25, before the boat sank to the sea bed. All 69 sailors on board perished.

The Dakar’s location remained unknown for many years until it was discovered and its wreckage recovered in 1999.

Brigadier General Ram Rothberg, the navy’s commander, said on Monday that after receiving a letter from the wife of a sailor killed in the incident requesting all available information, he issued an order for the data to be passed on to all the families, 47 years after the tragedy.

“This is a complex event,” Rothberg told reporters. “It brings up many questions from that time, questions on why the submarine sank. All of the information was relayed to the families, in line with the navy’s ethical and moral obligation.”

Identified only as “D” by Israel Hayom, the commander of Flotilla 7, of which the Dakar was a part, wished to convey “a message of hope and power.”

The Flotilla has come a long way since the loss of INS Dakar. Today the Flotilla is at the forefront of the operational activity,” he stated.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel

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