The French Navy has found the wreckage of its ‘Minerve’ submarine, which disappeared off the coast of Toulon in the Mediterranean Sea in 1968, leading to the loss of 52 lives.
“We have just found the Minerve. It was a successful operation, a moment of relief and a demonstration of technical prowess. I would like to spare a thought for the families of those who have waited for this moment for so long,’’ said French Armed Forces Minister, Florence Parly, on Monday.
The government decided in 2018 to renew efforts to find the Minerve, following requests from the bereaved families and found it, thanks to the use of new sonar and drone technology.
The reason the submarine sank remains unknown.
Minerve was laid down on May 1958 at the Chantiers Dubigeon shipyard in Nantes and launched on May 31, 1961.
She had a maximum speed of 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph).
After a shakedown cruise to Londonderry Port, Bergen, and Gothenburg in November 1962, the submarine sailed from Cherbourg to Toulon, arriving on December 22, 1962.
She was commissioned into the 1st Submarine Squadron on June 10, 1964.
Minerve operated solely in the Mediterranean Sea.
She was refitted at Missiessy Quay, Toulon, in 1967.