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Calls go out to reinstate Gorch Fock commander

The Local · 15 Mar 2011, 08:42

Published: 15 Mar 2011 08:42 GMT+01:00

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The calls to reinstate Norbert Schatz are particularly loud among the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU).

"I strongly advise the naval leadership to give Mr. Schatz back his command," Jürgen Hardt, a CDU parliamentarian and naval expert, told the Tuesday edition of the Rheinische Post.

Ernst-Reinhard Beck, the parliamentary defence spokesman for the conservative CDU bloc, told the Financial Times Deutschland that Schatz' name should be cleared in the wake of the investigation into the affair that scandalized the navy and Germany. He would like to see the Gorch Fock resume its role as a training vessel, he said.

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

A previous report had 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.

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

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

On the other side of the political spectrum, Green Party politician Omid Nouripour also called for Schatz' record and reputation to be cleared.

But Rainer Arnold, the parliamentary defence spokesman for the Social Democrats, expressed dissatisfaction with the report itself, saying he thinks the navy is trying to play down the affair.

"I don't sign on to this report," he said in the Tuesday edition of the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung. "Because when you read it carefully, you see that there were some very serious developments here."

Story continues below…

He said it was up to the navy to remedy those, not politicians.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:05 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.
21:32 March 15, 2011 by fryintl
Hanskarl: I agree. If anythin gwrong happened, then the TOp officer on teh ship should be removed. In the military, you can delegate authority, but you retain all respnoosibility. If anything went on, then you are responible. He may not hav eseen or known about soemthing, but he was respnosible for everything that happened on teh ship. I am in teh US, so I do not know if he has been administratively demoted, or if he is pending retirement. One thing is sure, that ANY misconduct cannot be just let go. It would be great to really know if the report fell short on proving some things due to political pressure or, if as often happens, the evidence is there but not conclusive. If you have ever investigated anything, you probaly know how it goes. You have some evidence but not strong enough. You know someone did something but you can't conclusively prove it. So your report can't specifically stipulate the Captain did something, or something happened but you know it did.

So, what am I saying? SOmehting happened. A lady died. Even if the COmmander wasn't specifically respnosible for the detail she was on , he ultimately is responsible fr everything that happened on teh ship. HE must go. Crime or no crime. Let him retire to obscurity, if he isnt so GUilty, and get soemone else there that will bring confidence in the command team and the Navy.
22:48 March 15, 2011 by derExDeutsche
It sounds almost like hanskarl and fryintl are in line for 'a job on a sailing ship'.

Some people just love to hate, geez. Accidents on a boat like this, no matter who the Capt. is. As long as this ship sails, there will always be the potential for fatalities. SO either you dock the boat, or you reinstate the Capt..

I say go on, Capt.!
01:50 March 16, 2011 by wood artist
The man was relieved of command based upon information/charges that now appears to be untrue/incorrect. If that is accurate, then he should be re-instated to his prior rank, although I probably wouldn't recommend returning him to his previous command.

If you're charged in court, and found not guilty, you are (usually) allowed to return to your former "life" although the stigma of the charges will never go away. In this case, the military should do no less.

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