Germany might lease Romanian sail training ship for its officer cadets

Gorch Fock is the oldest commissioned ship in the German Navy. Photo: German Navy

Germany is considering leasing a Romanian Navy sail training ship to train its officer cadets as ‘Gorch Fock’, the German Navy’s training ship, is tied to port for extensive repairs.

While the decision has not yet been made, German Navy Vice Admiral Rainer Brinkmann told reporters in Kiel that he expects the decision to be made within the next three weeks, according to dpa.

The decision will also depend on the outcome of safety checks on the Romanian vessel ‘Mircea’ which was built in 1938 by the Blohm & Voss shipyard based on the same design as Gorch Fock.

The Gorch Fock has high safety standards which came about following two separate deaths of officer cadets aboard the ship. In 2008, a female officer cadet fell overboard and died while another cadet died in 2010 after loosing grip at a height of 27 meters during a sail and mast-rigging exercise.

According to Lübecker Nachrichten, as it now stands Germany will deploy two groups of 50 cadets on the ‘Mircea’ this year but the ship will not be charted, remaining under the Romanian flag. Mircea will also keep her regular crew.

Germany is forced to seek solutions for the training of navy cadets after it was found out that the Gorch Fock would have to stay in the dry dock for much longer than initially expected. The German Ministry of Defense even considered scrapping the ship due to the high costs of repairs.

Gorch Fock docked for a regular maintenance period in January 2016 with repair costs estimated at around 10 million euros. Most recent estimates of the costs were placed at around 75 million euros and will allow the sail training ship remain in service beyond 2030.

 

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