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Sailor who died on Gorch Fock was unfit for duty, report says

The Local · 8 Feb 2011, 10:32

Published: 08 Feb 2011 10:32 GMT+01:00

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Sara Lena Seele, whose death in late November set off what has been called a “mutiny,” was overweight and should not have been ordered to participate in the climbing exercise on the mast, according to a navy investigative report cited by daily Bild.

The report said that Seele’s height-weight proportion – she was 1.58 meters and weighed 85 kilos (5’2”, 187 lbs.) - should have excluded her from strenuous duty on board ship. Why the cadet’s massive weight gain before her transfer to the Gorch Fock was not taken into consideration by her superiors is also being investigated.

Chief prosecutor Birgit Hess from the Kiel prosecutors’ office confirmed to the DPA news agency that Seele’s fitness for duty was now a part of its investigation and that it was in close contact with the Defence Ministry. The navy’s press office refused to comment on the matter.

The Gorch Fock, a tall ship that was once the pride of the German navy, has been the centre of allegations of bullying, sexual harassment and the all-around bad behaviour of its officers, who reportedly spent much of their time on the ship sunbathing and partying.

The vessel is now on its way back to Germany from South America.

Story continues below…


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:25 February 8, 2011 by pepsionice
You'd have to be an idiot as a commander to allow someone to do strenuous duty like they describe and be that much overweight. In this case....she shouldn't have been onboard, and I doubt seriously that she should have been allowed in the German military.
11:30 February 8, 2011 by marimay
That is messed up. She would have been considered "obese", not just overweight. Poor girl.
11:35 February 8, 2011 by The-ex-pat
Something is not quite right with the whole story of this death. Now we are told she was very over weight. As I understand the Gorch Fock was a training ship for officer and potential officer cadets. If she was so over weight how did she get through the selection process?
12:28 February 8, 2011 by auniquecorn
So the Gorch Fock was really a whaler?
14:05 February 8, 2011 by The-ex-pat
Why was my post edited? The last sentence was a stab at irony. Is the Local turning PC or does Renate Künast have friends in high places??
14:35 February 8, 2011 by marimay
Hmm, yeah. I saw your post in its original form. Weird.
15:13 February 8, 2011 by finanzdoktor
Ex-Pat: I would very much like to know what your last sentence actually was?

Of course, as the rest of you (and being a former servicemember), how did this young lady get into the training program to be a future officer, if she was unfit for duty?

Something is beginning to smell and it is not the sea air.
18:54 February 8, 2011 by wenddiver
We shouldn't be so discriminatory against fat people. It is easily cureable. Cut all the sugar out of her diet and make her run everywhere she goes, combined with alternating hours of extreme calestinics. Drill Instructors the world over do this daily to turn kids who are fat and all Sugared up by their mothers into Soldiers. The excuse that she can't participate, becauase she's a fat midget is bizarre, her Officers should have been on those ratlines themselves cursing and urging her on.
19:10 February 8, 2011 by marimay
Oh, they probably were...
19:21 February 8, 2011 by tallady
Why did she gain so much weight prior to embarking o the Gorch Fock? She had heard from friends that it was the ship from Hell...and it IS..read up on the publications about the ship.
20:19 February 8, 2011 by wenddiver
A better question would be With all the drinking and vomiting how did she gain 200 Pounds in the military?

Obviously not with the program yet!
22:01 February 8, 2011 by The-ex-pat
finanzdoktor, it was nothing offensive, rather bland in fact and I wonder if it will stay this time. It was something along the lines,.... and maybe she was Renate Künast's quota.
03:19 February 9, 2011 by finanzdoktor
Ex-Pat: Interesting. Don't see any harm in your statement, especially now that I know who Renate Kunast is.
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