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A QUESTION OF MUTINY

Defence Minister K-T zu Guttenburg












Some very disturbing news came into NAUTICAL LOG this evening about an apparent mutiny in the German Navy Sail Training Ship Gorch Fock. The background to the report is the death in November 2010 of a female cadet-officer Sarah Schmidt as a result of falling from aloft. There were several incidents of this occurring, in other Sail Training vessels, last year. The report by Hellmut Königshaus, the German Parliament's liaison officer to the German Navy, said that after the death of the 25 year-old cadet-officer her shipmates refused to obey orders to climb the rigging. Still others did not want to continue in the ship on her round-the-world voyage. The ship's Commanding Officer, Kapitän zur See Norbert Schatz, reportedly accused four officer-cadets of lack of cooperation claiming they incited the crew to mutiny. He then ordered these four cadet-officers returned to Germany. As one can see in the top photo all the officer-cadets, with Kapitän zur See Schatz, are wearing full body safety harness over their sea uniform.

The alleged mutiny is thought to be behind the Commanding Officer's decision several days later to fly the entire ship's company of 70 officer-cadets back to Germany from Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. The Gorch Fock was then manned by professional sailors and the German Navy ordered all sail training to be suspended. Now the German Naval Staff have ordered the vessel to return to and berth in Ushuaia, Argentina to where German Naval Staff investigators have flown to fully examine the incident. Cadet-officers had complained to a naval ombudsman on their return to Germany from Brazil.

UPDATE:

NAUTICAL LOG has just been informed from Berlin, where it is Saturday January 22, 2011, that the German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has dismissed Kapitän zur See Norbert Schatz as Commanding Officer he was replaced by the previous Commanding Officer, Kapitän zur See Michael Bruehn, a member of the investigation team. The Gorch Fock is further ordered to leave Argentina in February and return directly to Kiel, Germany, in the meantime she has been removed as a "ready ship" of the Deutsche Marine. The Defence Minister told Sunday's edition of Bild am Sonntag that the ship

"will be withdrawn from service until a commission is formed, including members of the Bundestag, to determine whether the Gorch Fock has a future as a training vessel and ambassador of Germany".

Good Watch.

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