Action film is different, is more exciting and wilder than what these pictures show: A military helicopter is standing over a container ship in reasonably calm seas and clear weather, a soldier rappels down from a height of about 20 meters, a warship lies in the water in the background. It’s the frigate Hamburg. Then several German soldiers lead a sailor in front of them on the bridge of the ship, he keeps his hands crossed over his head. The man has to sit down, wants to get up, is emphatically prevented from doing so, but without using force. The effort is coordinated. There is no waving or shouting with weapons, the martial appearance of the German soldiers corresponds to what is common in boarding maneuvers. The Defense Department later said the situation on board was “cooperative”. But it doesn’t look like that in the video either.
But not much more can be seen on the Turkish TV pictures of the boarding team’s work on the Rosaline A in the Mediterranean Sea, a cargo ship sailing under the Turkish flag. On board the Hamburgwho have use on the Rosaline A executed in the course of the EU mission “Irini”, a boarding team of the naval battalion of the German armed forces is stationed. These soldiers are supposed to protect their own ship, but also carry out such operations as part of the EU’s “Irini” mission: Board suspicious ships on the high seas, search their cargo and thus monitor the UN arms embargo against Libya.
Such operations can also escalate very easily, as a case in June shows
According to the operational command in Potsdam, the Hamburg 30 missions so far. In 28 cases it was a “friendly approach”, a “friendly visit” on board the other ship. In a relaxed atmosphere you have a conversation with the captain who invited the soldiers. Boarding like that on the Rosaline A there is something else, because there is also control. It was only the second for the frigate’s crew Hamburg. As part of the entire “Irini” mission, which has been running since May, it is the fifth boarding ever.
What on the Rosaline A happened, has now caused a lot of trouble between Berlin and Ankara. A statement by the Turkish Foreign Ministry speaks of “coercion”. The crew, including the captain, had been arrested and individual containers had been searched without the captain’s consent. The crew members were “treated like criminals”, the ship did not load any prohibited material, but paint and humanitarian goods. Ankara protests and demands compensation because the search began without Turkish consent. In the evening, the German chargé d’affaires, the Italian ambassador and the EU ambassador were summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry for a meeting.
The German representation contradicts this. From the Federal Ministry of Defense it is said that the order Rosaline A control came from the “Irini” mission leadership in Rome, which is currently held by a Greek. There it was suspected that the container freighter violated the arms embargo against Libya: It left the port in Yarimca, Turkey, on Friday and headed for Misrata.
Before a control action can start, the approval of the respective flag state must be obtained. The Rosaline A drives under the Turkish flag, the request from the headquarters in Rome was made in the morning, it said. No veto had been issued within the prescribed period. As long as the flag state does not raise an objection within four hours, this will be regarded as consent. So a spokesman for the Federal Ministry of Defense described the legal situation, so be it in the case of the Rosaline A been. So: everything is fine.
The operation began on Sunday at 3:31 p.m. The Hamburg and the cargo ship were about 200 kilometers north of Benghazi. The Ministry of Defense described the situation on board as “cooperative” and data had been compared. Accordingly, there were only Turkish seafarers on board. At 7:05 p.m. they began to inspect the cargo. It was only at this point in time that Turkey subsequently stated that it did not agree with the inspection. The Germans had never experienced this in the “Irini” mission. The mission was canceled. Until then, nothing suspicious had been found on board, it said. For safety reasons, the boarding team did not let the helicopter take them back to their frigate at night, but only after sunrise. The Rosaline A then continued her journey.
It became clear on June 10th that such operations can escalate. The French warship Courbet was also on the move in the Mediterranean as part of the NATO “Sea Guardian” mission and was supposed to control a freighter that had previously been noticed in connection with arms deliveries from Turkey to Libya and was now being escorted by Turkish frigates. The Turkish warships refused to control, they are supposed to point their fire control radar on the Courbet have aligned. In protest, Paris temporarily withdrew from the Sea Guardian mission.