German 'mutiny ship' sails home

31st January 2011, Comments 0 comments

The German naval training ship at the centre of a scandal involving the death of a cadet, an alleged mutiny and accusations of sexual harassment was sailing back home on Monday, the navy said.

The Gorch Fock left the southern Argentinian port of Ushuaia on Sunday afternoon to embark its journey back to northern Germany, which is expected to take around three months, a spokesman said.

The vessel was ordered home after cadets reportedly refused orders to climb the rigging following the death of a 25-year-old female trainee.

Sara Lena Seele plunged to her death from a yardarm of the three masted sailing ship off Salvador de Bahia in Brazil in November.

Press reports have said cadets were bullied, sexually harassed, threatened and made to clean up the vomit of their drunken superiors, who would spend much of their time on the pride of the German navy sunbathing and partying.

Defence Minister Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg suspended the captain, Commander Norbert Schatz, who reports said was often to be seen on board in swimming trunks, pending an enquiry.

The father of another female cadet on the Gorch Fock who fell overboard and drowned in 2008 has called for a new probe into the accident.

Schatz was ordered to fly home and the ship set sail under the command of a replacement captain.

© 2011 AFP

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