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Old 26-04-2018, 23:47   #1
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Mutiny on the Gorch Fock

Why is there almost nothing in the news about this, and nothing at all on GCaptain?

Gorch Fock is the German Navy's tall ship training ship. Apparently a 25-year old cadet fell to her death from the rigging, and the whole crew mutinied (!) and had to be flown home to Germany. An extraordinary incident.

We were recently discussing safety when going aloft. I know of very few cases where professional riggers have fallen, and not all that many cases of sailors falling. But training ships is a different story -- a boy fell to his death from the rigging of the Royalist just a few days after I spent a couple of days rafted up to her in Weymouth Harbour. I guess you can't compare the safety challenge when you're out on the yards on a foot rope, all the more, at sea.

But why can't we read anything about the incident on the Gorch Fock?
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Old 27-04-2018, 00:33   #2
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Re: Mutiny on the Gorch Fock

Enough is available to determine that the root cause was having children 'leading' children in a dangerous environment; there have been 2 deaths since 2008, both women, both under questionable circumstances. The most recent, in 2011, involved a 5'2", 187 lb cadet falling from the rigging (I'm 5'10", 160 lbs for comparison). In the second instance, the mutiny appears to be refusal to carry out orders by cadets, whence they were flown home because of 'morale issues'.

You can find reports from sources with varying levels of credibility by googling 'Gorch Fock death'.
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Old 27-04-2018, 00:54   #3
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Re: Mutiny on the Gorch Fock

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Originally Posted by jimbunyard View Post
Enough is available to determine that the root cause was having children 'leading' children in a dangerous environment; there have been 2 deaths since 2008, both women, both under questionable circumstances. The most recent, in 2011, involved a 5'2", 187 lb cadet falling from the rigging (I'm 5'10", 160 lbs for comparison). In the second instance, the mutiny appears to be refusal to carry out orders by cadets, whence they were flown home because of 'morale issues'.

You can find reports from sources with varying levels of credibility by googling 'Gorch Fock death'.
I can't find anything really factual and detailed, even in German.

This is not the first such death on this vessel. Some information about an earlier case:

https://www.tagesspiegel.de/themen/r.../14466390.html

One thing for sure, however, the captain, Norbert Schatz, was not indeed a "child leading children". Schatz is in his 50's.
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Old 27-04-2018, 01:16   #4
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Re: Mutiny on the Gorch Fock

Can't say anything about the new incident, but as it happens, about 25 years ago, I actually sailed on the Gorch Fock.

Still, before I get to that, to my knowledge is the current Gorch Fock (ll) undergoing a refit in a yard in Elsfleth.
If its really a new incident, it has probably happened onboard the sistership Mircea which the German naval forces wanted to charter for the time of the refit of Gorch Fock (II). Or it happened during the refit.
Btw. The original Gorch Fock (I) is permanently moored on a dock in Stralsund.

At the time all there was for those going aloft was a rope with a bowtie around your hip and a standart snap shackle attached to it.
When you went aloft, many did so at the same time. You where literally running up aloft at speed.
Once aloft you did clip yourself in. But, up to the moment you clipped in at 35m above deck you where essentially not secured but for the strength of your arms, hands and fingers.

The most scary moment was always to step around the mast for the last few meters when going to the royal.
The "shrouds" which you used to climb up end before reaching the royal. To get further up, there was a step ladder at the trailing edge of the mast which you had to step over to.

Never took the very last step of that one


I guess at the time there was a more relaxed attitude towards health and safety.
Especially in the military.
Now the whole crew has at least proper climbing harnesses to my knowledge.
Still, if they are still going aloft unsecured and only clip in aloft than there is still a lot of risk involved.
Further there tends to be a lot of physical and emotional stress resulting from the vigorous training you receive on board. If someone can not handle this I would not completely rule out that someone might actually become suicidal.

Regarding children leading children.
That's definitely not the case onboard Gorch Fock.
At least it was not when I was on board.
All crew and officers where well trained and older than 18, most of them probably between 22 and 45.
In the case of some other vessels it might be different, especially the cadets onboard the Russian sail training ships tend to be very young.
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Old 27-04-2018, 01:26   #5
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Re: Mutiny on the Gorch Fock

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franziska View Post
Can't say anything about the new incident, but as it happens, about 25 years ago, I actually sailed on the Gorch Fock.

At the time all there was for those going aloft was a rope with a bowtie around your hip and a standart snap shackle attached to it.
When you went aloft, many did so at the same time. You where literally running up aloft at speed.
Once aloft you did clip yourself in. But, up to the moment you clipped in at 35m above deck you where essentially not secured but for the strength of your arms, hands and fingers.

The most scary moment was always to step around the mast for the last few meters when going to the royal.
The "shrouds" which you used to climb up end before reaching the royal. To get further up, there was a step ladder at the trailing edge of the mast which you had to step over to.

Never took the very last step of that one


I guess at the time there was a more relaxed attitude towards health and safety.
Especially in the military.
Now the whole crew has at least proper climbing harnesses to my knowledge.
Still, if they are still going aloft unsecured and only clip in aloft than there is still a lot of risk involved.
Further there tends to be a lot of physical and emotional stress resulting from the vigorous training you receive on board. If someone can not handle this I would not completely rule out that someone might actually become suicidal.

Regarding children leading children.
That's definitely not the case onboard Gorch Fock.
At least it was not when I was on board.
All crew and officers where well trained and older than 18, most of them probably between 22 and 45.
In the case of some other vessels it might be different, especially the cadets onboard the Russian sail training ships tend to be very young.
That sounds terrifying, but I'm not sure that it is so heinous to allow cadets in the military to volunteer to take such risks.

Presumably they signed up to this on the GF. So why did they mutiny?
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Old 27-04-2018, 01:33   #6
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Re: Mutiny on the Gorch Fock

Can't say as I have no info about the new incident.

At my time no-one was forced to go aloft. But obviously, it did not leave a good impression in the training documents when you refused, at least between the lines.
There where a few who refused though.

And yes, it was scary, having done rock climbing previously helped me though.
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Old 27-04-2018, 01:45   #7
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Re: Mutiny on the Gorch Fock

Well, I don't read German, so that link is over my head, though it appears that that incident was the previous one in 2008, when the cadet fell overboard on watch, perhaps influenced by alcohol, if the reports are accurate.

All other things aside, age has nothing to do with maturity.

Whilst everything that happens on the vessel is ultimately the captain's responsibility, and he should be held responsible for it, there is a hierarchy of responsibility; it would be interesting academically to know more about that hierarchy in this case, as well as the vetting procedure for assigning it.

If you're alluding that there was/is some kind of coverup, well maybe so, but the sordid details are, to me at least, irrelevant since they're likely to devolve into a 'he said, she said' dispute, with no real culpability assigned, probably rightly so, since it seems likely to me that the real source is the decadence of the current culture overall, and the disconnect between those of the 'older' and 'younger' generation's respective cultures.
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Old 27-04-2018, 01:57   #8
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Re: Mutiny on the Gorch Fock

The link further up refers to an older incident.
I can not find anything referring to a new incident in German or international media.

As stated in my two posts above, to my knowledge the ship is in a yard refit since 2016.
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Old 27-04-2018, 02:14   #9
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Re: Mutiny on the Gorch Fock

^Exactly, some old news made it to the top of the pile somehow.

https://navaltoday.com/2018/03/21/ge...m-repair-bill/

Quote:
Back in January 2106 [sic], Gorch Fock was expected to stay at the Elsfleth shipyard for 17 weeks but previously undetected damages caused both delays and cost overruns which twice prompted the defense ministry to decide whether to continue with the restoration.
Quote:
The German Navyís sail training ship Gorch Fock will be returning to sea despite its overhaul ordeal and a price tag which started at 10 million euros in January 2016 and reached an estimated 135 million euros as it currently stands.
Quote:
Once the ship returns to service in the second half of 2019, it will remain in service beyond 2040, the defense ministry noted.
Just like every boat project we discuss here on CF it took waaaay longer and cost waaaaay waaaaay more than originally budgeted
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Old 27-04-2018, 02:15   #10
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Re: Mutiny on the Gorch Fock

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franziska View Post
The link further up refers to an older incident.
I can not find anything referring to a new incident in German or international media.

As stated in my two posts above, to my knowledge the ship is in a yard refit since 2016.
Looks like I may have been looking at old news

That would explain the lack of news coverage!
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Old 27-04-2018, 02:24   #11
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Re: Mutiny on the Gorch Fock

Yes and all ooold news. Actually I like the oximoron old news ;-)
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Old 27-04-2018, 02:32   #12
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Re: Mutiny on the Gorch Fock

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Looks like I may have been looking at old news

That would explain the lack of news coverage!
Yes, but in turn it lead to current news about a refit project that went from 17 weeks to 3 years and from 10 million euro to 135 million (and not done yet). Makes me feel a little better about my own over-budget and over-schedule refit
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Old 27-04-2018, 03:23   #13
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Re: Mutiny on the Gorch Fock

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Yes, but in turn it lead to current news about a refit project that went from 17 weeks to 3 years and from 10 million euro to 135 million (and not done yet). Makes me feel a little better about my own over-budget and over-schedule refit
Ha, ha! Glad to see that refit syndrome scales to large ships! Misery loves company
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Old 27-04-2018, 04:23   #14
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Re: Mutiny on the Gorch Fock

I think the Royal Navy has put a stop to this sort of thing, as it has little training value and watching you son on a passing out parade fall wouldn't be good PR. I haven't seen the mast being assembled at the end of the parade ground in HMS Sultan for a couple years now. However, when it was down I did have a look at the brass top hat piece at the very top which some unfortunate young sailor would have to clime probably 40m to reach and then stand on. It was about the size of a dinner plate. I couldn't see any form of mast track or wire to clip on to. Perhaps there was, it just wasn't visible when the mast was down for storage.

The former military hospital at Haslar in Gosport is to be redeveloped. However, for a couple of hundred years they have been burying bodies in the grounds without keeping any records which is causing the developers some anguish. It is thought there could be 30,000 which is now of great interest to the archaeologists. One body they have recently dug up had nearly every single bone broken which intrigued them. the only explanation they could come up with is he fell from great height and landing on the deck.

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Old 27-04-2018, 04:51   #15
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pirate Re: Mutiny on the Gorch Fock

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete7 View Post
I think the Royal Navy has put a stop to this sort of thing, as it has little training value and watching you son on a passing out parade fall wouldn't be good PR. I haven't seen the mast being assembled at the end of the parade ground in HMS Sultan for a couple years now. However, when it was down I did have a look at the brass top hat piece at the very top which some unfortunate young sailor would have to clime probably 40m to reach and then stand on. It was about the size of a dinner plate. I couldn't see any form of mast track or wire to clip on to. Perhaps there was, it just wasn't visible when the mast was down for storage.

The former military hospital at Haslar in Gosport is to be redeveloped. However, for a couple of hundred years they have been burying bodies in the grounds without keeping any records which is causing the developers some anguish. It is thought there could be 30,000 which is now of great interest to the archaeologists. One body they have recently dug up had nearly every single bone broken which intrigued them. the only explanation they could come up with is he fell from great height and landing on the deck.

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