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Jung calls for army to tackle pirates

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Jung calls for army to tackle pirates
Crew members leave the Hansa Stavanger on Saturday. Photo: DPA
10:25 CEST+02:00
Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung intends to change the constitution to allow the army to deal with hostage situations, after the German ship held by Somalian pirates since April docked in Mombasa, Kenya.

The Hansa Stavanger arrived in Mombasa on Saturday after a reported €2 million was paid by the owners for the boat and the 24 crew members, which includes five Germans.

Now Jung says he wants the army to have the constitutional powers to deal with such situations, saying the police, which currently have jurisdiction, simply took too long to act.

He told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, “According to our constitution, the police are responsible for dealing with hostage freeing operations. But the situation had got much worse by the time the police arrived in the Horn of Africa."

“First of all there were five pirates on the Hansa Stavanger – later there were up to 35 pirates and the situation was much more difficult.”

He said he intended to introduce the subject for debate after September's election.

“We should think about a constitutional amendment which would enable the army to tackle situations if the police cannot,” he said.

He also said he wanted to increase the options for military cooperation in such situations, particularly with French forces. “During the red-green coalition government, it was decided in 2003 that we would not order our own helicopter carrier ship. Today I believe that we should at least create the possibility to be able to use such a vessel.”

Owner of the Hansa Stavanger, Frank Leonhardt, told the same paper he hoped to get some of the ransom money from his insurers.

“We expect that at least part of the cost will be carried by insurance,” he said.

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