Two ceremonies, organized by the General Association of former submariners (AGASM), took place in tribute to the sailors of Minerve, missing at sea, off Toulon, January 27, 1968. They were held in Brest at monument of sailors missing in the sea of Plougonvelin, and Toulon at the monument of submarines in the presence of families and relatives of the crew of Minerve.
Vice-Admiral Charles-Henri du Ché, Maritime Prefect of the Mediterranean and Commander-in-Chief for the Mediterranean, accompanied by Captain Cyril de Jaurias, commanding the squadron of nuclear attack submarines, read the agenda of the Chief of Staff of the Navy, Admiral Christophe PRAZUCK:
“Fifty years ago, on January 27, 1968, the submarine Minerve disappeared off Toulon, with fifty-two sailors on board. With other terrible accidents, such as that of Eurydice two years later and that of the Emerald in 1994, this drama reminds us of the heavy toll paid by French submariners during the second half of the twentieth century.
The anniversary of this tragedy is first and foremost the opportunity to gather, to honor the memory of the missing and to express to their families the compassion of the sailors, among whom still serve orphans of these missing submariners.
It is also an opportunity to remember the epic of these eleven classic Daphne class submarines called “high performance”, which reinforce the revival of the French submarine weapon after the war.
It was necessary to be brave to take the sea aboard an “800 tons” after this sinking, still unexplained to this day. Sailors did it. They accompanied the first patrol of the Redoutable. They were of all the operations of the Cold War. They ensured the transition to the all-nuclear submarine weapon we know today.
Our navy knows what it owes to these submariners, alive and dead, who have allowed by their courage, their enthusiasm but also their sacrifices, the development of modern underwater forces, of an outstanding quality, guarantors of our ocean deterrence for 46 years. Today, they contribute to the defense of our country and our fellow citizens on a very broad spectrum of operations.
I do not forget our underwater comrades who disappeared 50 years ago. The sailors of 2018 do not forget them. We owe them what we have become. “