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Speech by M. George Kevorkian

The AGASM Minerve association, association of Finistère submariners, co-organized with the association Aux Marins, in the presence of the submarine forces, a ceremony of remembrance at the National Memorial at Pointe Saint-Mathieu.

A complete report of this ceremony, made by the AGASM  is visible by clickingHERE


In the cenotaph Mr. Georges Kevorkian, of the AGASM Minerve
gave a speech in which he traced retracé the course of the event


La Minerva will not return

On the occasion of this tribute that we pay to the submariners, victims of the loss of body and property of theMinerva, 50 years ago, we must have the same thoughts for our comrades who died in similar conditions.


We are at the Castigneau islet of the Toulon arsenal, on Friday January 26, 1968, it is a little after 7 o'clock in the morning. I linger at the corner of the Isabelle and Laubeuf quays, because theMinervais preparing to cast off to reach the sector assigned to her, off Cap Sicié, where she is to take part during the weekend in an anti-submarine warfare exercise with a Breguet-Atlantic. The verification combat station, led by the second officer, has just ended. The commander, in his sea coat, at the top of the massif, makes an overview ; the approaches are clear, he is ready to cast off.


Suddenly, I see appearing at the bottom of the massif, Lieutenant Jean Agnus, the building engineer, who, after setting foot on the quay, walks towards me and says to me " Monsieur Kévorkian, we are having trouble with air leaks on the Girodin compressors, could you provide me with some O-rings ? ”. Without wasting time trying to understand, I quickly go to our workshops to fetch an assortment of seals from our reserves and give them to him. A few minutes later, the Minerve left the quay…I'm the last to see her walk away..I think I even waved at Jean Agnus…or at the submarine itself. But maybe it's in my subconscious !!


It is now Monday morning, January 29, 1968, shortly after 7 a.m., the freezing mistral has calmed down. Groups of workers are forming, I approach them : " Chief, I saw matafs this morning….who told me that the Minerva was lost : it did not return to base as planned_cc781905 -5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_". I don't know what to answer, I still don't understand the tragedy of the situation. I have never been confronted with such events.


From the squadron of Missiessy, then comes the confirmation that she lost all contact with the submarine on the morning of Saturday and that it has been officially missing since the time of her scheduled return at the end of the evening of that same saturday


In the afternoon, I learn that I am going to embark in the evening, in the company of workers whom I must designate,that I have to designate,, on a Gabare with the hope of having to put into action the organs that we have prepared to ventilate the crew in fresh air, if we can reach the Minerve. But I know in my heart of hearts that it is vain to believe in the implementation of these means of rescue.


After a night spent aboard the Gabare off Toulon, we received the order to return to port : the hope of finding the Minerve was dismissed. When our equipment disembarked on Tuesday morning January 31, we understood that the submarine was definitely lost : the restrained attitude of the squadron and shipyard personnel did not Don't be fooled.  Our thoughts then go to the crew members of the Minerve whom we have already worked with for 3 years, as well as to their families.


It will be known later that the Minerve imploded when it accidentally reached an immersion of about 600 meters, on January 27, at 7h 59 minutes 23 seconds, according to recordings.


To the distress of the submariners, it is my duty,it is my duty(to be repeated) to associate with it the distress of the repair yard personnel who were in daily contact with their comrades on board.


Farewell to our comrades, the wave engulfed them...

Pointe St Mathieu - Cinquantenaire disparition Minerve
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