U.S. Firm Locates French Submarine Missing Since 1968

minerve french submarine
File photo shows the Minerve submarine in Marseille, France.

The French Navy working with US-based subsea exploration firm Ocean Infinity has found the missing wreckage of the ‘Minerve’ submarine, which went missing in Mediterranean Sea off the coast of France in 1968 with the loss of all 52 lives on board.

French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly made the announcement in a tweet on Monday, “We have just found the Minerva. It’s a success, a relief and a technical feat. I think of the families who have been waiting for this moment so long.”

The French submarine went missing in the western Mediterranean on January 27, 1968. The cause of the sinking is still unknown.

A French official told reporters that the wreckage was discovered Sunday night approximately 30 miles south of Toulon, further south than previously thought.

The Minerve was discovered with help of Ocean Infinity’s Seabed Constructor, which is equipped with highly capable Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs). The wreckage was discovered at a depth of 2,370 meters (7,800 feet), the AFP reported a senior French naval officer as saying.

The French government renewed its search for the missing sub earlier this year under pressure from the families of the missing victims.

The discovery of the Minerve is the latest in a long list of high-profile ultra-deepwater searches conducted by Houston-based Ocean Infinity.