TEL AVIV (Feb. 11)
A marker buoy washed up on a Gaza Strip beach has been identified as belonging to the missing Israeli submarine Dakar which vanished with all hands in the eastern Mediterranean on or shortly after Jan. 25, 1968. That was the date on which the last radio contact was made with the submarine and its 69 officers and crewmen.
Vice Admiral Abraham Botzer, commander of Israel’s Navy, and Commander Joseph Dror of its submarine flotilla disclosed at a press conference today that the buoy was found by an Arab last Sunday on a beach north of Khan Yunis. The Navy commanders said the buoy was standard submarine equipment housed in a special enclosure on the submarine’s deck and releasable from inside the undersea craft. The buoy contained an automatic transmitter capable of broadcasting SOS signals and the sub’s serial number for 60 to 80 hours. They said that markings on the buoy and an attached rope identified it as coming from the Dakar.
They stressed, however, that the discovery was not a clue to the whereabouts of the missing sub sufficient to warrant a renewed search. They noted that currents in the eastern Mediterranean may have floated it to the North African coast where it fell in with the Nile current that flows northward along the Sinai and Israel coasts. They said that should an examination of the buoy reveal further information, the question of a new search would be reviewed. The Dakar, a 20-year-old British-built submarine, was purchased by the Israel Navy and was on its first voyage to Israel from the Portsmouth naval base in England when it was lost.