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German sailors in suspected racist mutiny
Hermelin crew members depart for Lebanon in May 2012. Photo: DPA

German sailors in suspected racist mutiny

Published: 27 Feb 2013 11:16 GMT+01:00
Updated: 27 Feb 2013 11:16 GMT+01:00

A group of German naval sailors have been accused of mutiny - attacking a superior officer, tying him half-naked to a table and writing racist slurs on his legs.

The victim holds the rank of bosun – the equivalent of a staff sergeant in the army – and is German-born but of Thai descent, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Tuesday.

At least four first mates – the equivalent of sergeants in the army - dragged their superior officer out of his bunk late at night on February 15th, while the German Navy's warship the Hermelin was docked in Beirut harbour.

They taped the man, who was only wearing underwear, to a table before writing “this is where the mongs live” on his legs, the paper said.

“All investigations we've conducted so far have shown that the incident [did not have a] xenophobic background,” control command told the paper, adding it did not appear alcohol had played a role in the attack either.

At least four first mates are thought to have been involved in the incident and were sent back to Germany to face disciplinary action, the paper said. The state prosecutor in Rostock is expected to investigate further.

The victim has remained on board, where the Marines will continue with their UN mission off the Lebanese coast.

The paper suggested that because the boat was so small – the Hermelin is just over 60 metres long – it was likely that other crew members were culpable in the incident in that they looked on without intervening to prevent it.

Two sailors took photos of the incident with their phones and were later ordered to delete them. At least 13 people were interrogated in relation to the incident, wrote the paper.

The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:20 February 27, 2013 by Bier_me
There's a big difference between hazing, which is what was described in this article and mutiny. 4 enlisted dudes tying up a rank equivalent of a staff sargeant is not a mutiny and he is not their superior officer. He may outrank them, but he is not an officer and not their overall commander. In no way is he in charge of the ship, so how can you have a mutiny?
12:23 February 27, 2013 by pepsionice
Man, you would have to really squeeze the heck out of this story....to say mutiny is possible. I would suggest that you go back and view the stories from the 1700s and how mutinies tend to work. If you held down the flag guy, or the cook, or the chief electrician on board the vessel....that just isn't mutiny.
12:49 February 27, 2013 by thosesocks
It also seems ridiculous to call it a "suspected racist mutiny" when the source you quote in the article (who would know what they're talking about, unless you're accusing them of being in on the racism?) says specifically that it did *not* have a xenophobic background. Sounds like milking the incident to the point of lying, Local.
12:50 February 27, 2013 by raandy
Mutiny, I think not. This was just hazing amongst enlisted personell as Bier_me has stated. It shows how far the overzealous PC controllers have come.
15:40 February 27, 2013 by catjones
'naval sailors' is redundant.
18:45 February 27, 2013 by Bigfoot76
On small naval craft, the chain of command tends to slide to the lower end. An extreme instance is that an Admiral is obviously not going to be in command of a rubber patrol raft. I doubt the victim was the "C/O" of the boat but he may have been left in command. In that situation he would be the officer in charge even without being an officer. In which case Mutiny could in theory happen.

Still, whomever it is that wrote this piece should return to writing for the classified adds.
20:44 February 27, 2013 by twisted
And they are not marines, but sailors....Jeez.
21:39 February 27, 2013 by farmy
Being a former Marine, this sounds like a normal day in the navy.
21:49 February 27, 2013 by Englishted
@twisted

Aren't sailors people on ships/boats that are powered by the wind or under sail?

I know mariners are not in the armed forces but on civilian ships/boats .

So isn't there a new word for military men/women controlling ship/boats .

Now I have worn out my / tab time for a new keyboard.
10:06 February 28, 2013 by ATM
This is not a mutiny. Could be just sailors/soldiers ragging each other. But the guy that got tied up did not see it that way so they should have stopped. Maybe there had been some ongoing issues. I think the headline for this story was a bit of a stretch.
13:36 February 28, 2013 by princigalli
They are sending these kinds of people in Lebanon? Germany won't look very good there like this.
22:59 February 28, 2013 by Mark S.
In most military organizations, it is a very serious crime to physically attack someone of superior rank. Some of the comments want to quibble over whether it is "muntiy", but that is splitting hairs.

If you can trust wikipedia: Als Meuterei gilt (§ 27) nach dem deutschen Wehrstrafgesetz, wenn sich Soldaten zusammenrotten und eine gemeinschaftlich begangene Gehorsamsverweigerung (§ 20), eine Bedrohung (§ 23), Nötigung (§ 24) oder einen tätlichen Angriff (§ 25) gegen einen Vorgesetzten durchführen.

Was there an "Angriff" against "Vorgesetzten"? "dragged their superior officer out of his bunk" sure sounds like it.
10:27 March 1, 2013 by wenddiver
He is lucky much worse didn't happen to him. Only a really stupid person goes wandering around by himself in the bowels of a warship if he is the slightest bit unpopular. I took Naval ROTC at Southern University and our Commander always reminded the Midshipmen about what First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill said "Rum and Sodomy maybe facts of Naval life, but they are not actual traditions". Needless to say all Midshipmen gave the Sailors their privacy unless performing a necessary duty after that.

Sailors live cramped lives away from family, friends, and bars,sluts, decent Gambling facilities when at Sea,in a dangerous enviroment full of bad weather and bland food, so you have to understand a certain amount of pent up energy amongst young fighting men. Nobody ever glorifies the young NATO Destroyer crews that keep the Sea in the North Atlantic, so that the supply lines from America that keep Europe Free are maintaned, and were maintained throughout theCold War.

No need for an outside investigation, the Ship's Captain could call them before a Captain's Mast and dock their pay or lock them in the Ship's Brigg on Bread and Water for awhile.There was no intention to refuse an order or take the ship, so a charge of Mutiny would not hold water.
11:09 March 2, 2013 by Roberto Gold
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
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