• Germany's news in English
 

Investigators clear Gorch Fock commander of allegations

Published: 13 Mar 2011 13:38 GMT+01:00

The Financial Times Deutschland obtained a copy of the 98-page report by an investigative committee led by German Navy Adm. Horst-Dieter Kolletschke. The paper said the allegations against Commander Norbert Schatz had proven themselves to be "largely untenable."

In January, Schatz was relieved of his duties as commander of the training ship by then-German Defence Minister Karl-Theoder zu Guttenberg after officer cadets came forth with claims of gross misconduct on the Gorch Fock leading up to and after the death of a woman cadet in November.

Twenty-five-year-old crew member Sarah S. fell 27 metres to her death during a climbing exercise, sparking an alleged “mutiny" on board the ship.

A report by Hellmut Königshaus, the German parliamentary liaison to the military, highlighted allegations by former cadets who said instructors were involved in heavy drinking and sexual assaults, in addition to subjecting naval trainees to humiliating drills.

Guttenberg was heavily criticised for his decision to suspend Schatz, particularly as the defence minister had cautioned not to draw premature conclusions about the case before examining the claims against the commander.

The investigative commission's report described officer cadets' claims of unreasonable drills following their crew member's death as "individual statements."

"Insofar as these allegations could be confirmed in part, they were not nearly as serious as they were originally made out to be," the report read, according to Financial Times Deutschland.

The committee questioned 221 officer cadets and 192 relatives of the Gorch Fock's permanent crew. However, the investigation did not concern the fatality on board the ship on November 7.

In particular, the commission's findings contradicted several cadets' allegations that instructors had made them climb the ship's rigging following their colleague's death.

The Local/arp

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

14:18 March 13, 2011 by catjones
Whew! That was close. I was afraid someone might be held responsible. Now, on to Duisburg.
14:56 March 13, 2011 by Al uk
I have heard they are renaming her (the ship) the Bounty.
15:55 March 13, 2011 by maxbrando
All of this was caused by overweight females who allege maltreatment when they actually have to perform.
22:09 March 13, 2011 by derExDeutsche
... that's the good news.

The Bad news is; The Captain wants to go water skiing!
12:28 March 14, 2011 by Gilly58
phew! what a relief....now, where did we stash the Rum?
13:43 March 15, 2011 by hanskarl
"Insofar as these allegations could be confirmed in part, they were not nearly as serious as they were originally made out to be,"

Enough said. If there were issues and for a ship with mainly "trainees" one should want to teach and testify to the highest level of professionalism and standards. Scuttle the whole crew and start over if even one shred of evidence turns up regarding these charges. Everything rises and falls on leadership.
16:03 March 15, 2011 by wenddiver
Wow! Who would have thought sailing a crew full of 18 year old girls to Brazil could ne so embarrassing.
Today's headlines
Dad who leapt from bridge with kids named
The man jumped 95 metres from the Rombachtalbrücke. Photo: Störfix / Wikimedia Commons

Dad who leapt from bridge with kids named

The identity of a man who last weekend jumped off a railway bridge with his children's bodies after stabbing them to death emerged in media reports on Wednesday. READ  

Court jails couple over son's 'new age' treatment
Photo: DPA

Court jails couple over son's 'new age' treatment

A couple have been jailed for three years by Germany's highest court after they broke off medical treatment of the woman's 12-year-old child's cystic fibrosis in favour of 'new age' treatments. READ  

Chief prosecutor sacked in media treason row
Harald Range (l) and Heiko Maas. Photo: DPA

Chief prosecutor sacked in media treason row

Germany's justice minister on Tuesday fired the chief prosecutor in an escalating row sparked by a controversial treason case against a blog accused of revealing state secrets. READ  

Greece crisis
Berlin's tough line splits European public opinion
Angela Merkel and Alexis Tsipras. File Photo: DPA

Berlin's tough line splits European public opinion

A study released on Tuesday shows that Germany's firm stance on Greek reforms has split European public opinion. But of all the main parties to the negotiations Berlin still fared best in the polling. READ  

Woman tries to take pony abroad in a car boot
Photo: DPA

Woman tries to take pony abroad in a car boot

A woman from Lower Saxony was stopped by police on Tuesday – for trying to carry a Shetland Pony out of the country in the boot of her Fiat Panda. READ  

Hamburg bunker blast and fire injure 38
Photo: DPA

Hamburg bunker blast and fire injure 38

UPDATE: A fire and explosion in a World War II-era bunker injured at least 38 people in Hamburg on Tuesday morning. READ  

Local list
Germany's top refreshing summer drinks
Photo: DPA

Germany's top refreshing summer drinks

Just like countries all over Europe, there's no shortage of multinational cola and other global thirst quenchers to be had in German shops. But what do you sip when you want a little local flavour? Read on to find out... READ  

Forest tragedy as best man kills groom-to-be
File photo: DPA

Forest tragedy as best man kills groom-to-be

A family outing turned into tragedy on Monday, when a best man in Thuringia accidentally killed the groom-to-be just days before his wedding. READ  

Slash CO2 emissions to save oceans: scientists
A humpback whale breaching. Photo: Wwelles14/Wikimedia Commons

Slash CO2 emissions to save oceans: scientists

German scientists said on Monday that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions must begin falling immediately if mankind is to have any hope of preserving Earth's oceans as we know them today. READ  

Weekend heatwave to follow Tuesday showers
Sun shining through an apple tree in Düsseldorf. Photo: DPA

Weekend heatwave to follow Tuesday showers

Germany can expect a cooler Tuesday with heavy showers in the west of the country before returning to high summer conditions over the weekend, the German Weather service said. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Business & Money
Start-up helps new Berliners short cut bureaucracy
National
The 1,000s of Germans massacred after the Second World War
Sport
Germany star scores own goal with PR gaffe
Features
'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?
Politics
Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife
National
13-year-old boy detained for trying to join Isis
Culture
Berlin restaurant serves up Greek Crisis Menu
Rhineland
Doctor on trial after woman wakes in morgue
Society
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Outsourcing drives Apreel's Europe growth
Society
Police bust kinky Bavarian couple over painful love-making
Politics
Merkel brings Palestinian girl to tears
Hamburg
Amateur archaeologist finds Nazi gold hoard
National
Could Merkel learn a lesson in love from this doppelganger?
Travel
Why you should stay in Germany for the summer holidays
Sport
German press tell Schweinsteiger 'good riddance'
National
Hamburg gets a bouncing 100kg baby girl
Society
In North Germany, money sometimes DOES grow on trees
National
Hero mechanics stop Bavaria shooting spree
International
Denmark says that border controls are coming
National
Did hackers take control of German missile battery?
Politics
Munich gives gay pride green light
Business & Money
Berlin rent controls hit prices hard
National
Fighting to breastfeed in public without shame
Society
Ice cream for dogs 'gobbled up in one gulp'
Education
Are hotpants a feminist issue?
Rhineland
Lion cub reunited with mother
National
How the heatwave is cracking Germany's Autobahns
International
Why the French are more sympathetic to Greece than the Germans
Sponsored Article
Crans-Montana: International expat hub
Gallery
Police seize pensioner's WW2 heavy weapons haul
National
How to survive the Europe-wide heatwave
Sport
Is Schweini already out of the door at Bayern?
Politics
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
National
Car assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
Rhineland
Weathermen red-faced over heatwave snow warning
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,097
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd