It’s a July evening in 2019. The crew of search vessel Seabed Constructor control underwater drones almost 9,000 feet below the surface of the Mediterranean. They’re looking for the French submarine Minerve which disappeared without trace in January 1968 with its 52-strong crew. One of the drones finds some wreckage. The clearly visible letters “MIN” confirm it’s the long-lost sub.
Back in 1968, Minerve had been engaged in a naval training exercise, working in tandem with military planes. On January 27, the submarine was cruising back to its base in the French port of Toulon and was just under 30 miles from its destination. Located on southern France’s Mediterranean coast, Toulon was – and is – the country’s principal naval base.