German navy captain sacked over mutiny

22nd January 2011, Comments 0 comments

The German navy has sacked the captain of its three-masted naval training vessel the Gorch Fock, the defence ministry said, after the death of a female cadet sparked a mutiny.

The tall ship, currently in the Argentine port of Ushuaia, has been recalled to its home port of Kiel in the Baltic Sea to await a government decision on its future, the ministry said.

"Commander Norbert Schatz of the Gorch Fock is to leave his post," a spokesman told AFP.

Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg told Sunday's upcoming edition of Bild am Sonntag that the ship "will be withdrawn from service until a commission is formed, including members of the Bundestag, to determine whether the Gorch Fock has a future as a training vessel and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".

The vessel was ordered to return to port amid reports that cadets had refused Schatz's orders to climb the rigging after a 25-year-old female trainee fell to her death from a yardarm while the ship was sailing off Salvador de Bahia in Brazil.

German MP Helmut Konigshaus said this week in a letter to parliament's defence committee that four cadets are accused of "inciting rebellion" aboard after they refused direct orders to climb the rigging.

All 70 cadets on board were flown back to Germany when the defence ministry terminated their training on the troubled vessel and sent officials to Ushuaia to open an inquiry.

© 2011 AFP

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