European Interest

Why Germany’s navy should keep it ships at bay

Flickr/SPD Schleswig-Holstein/CC BY 2.0
“The navy will soon run out of operational ships,” Germany's parliamentary commissioner for the armed forces, Hans-Peter Bartels was quoted as saying.

Germany’s parliamentary commissioner for the armed forces, Hans-Peter Bartels, has called for a stop to the deployment of frigates to Nato, EU and UN missions because there are not enough ships.

In an interview published in the Sunday tabloid Bild am Sonntag, Bartels blamed bureaucracy and mismanagement for a lack of available frigates.

“The navy will soon run out of operational ships,” the Social Democrat (SPD) politician was quoted as saying.

As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, Bartels warned that a shortage of spare parts for German navy vessels will lead to longer repair stays in shipyards.

“There are too many administrative responsibilities, a lack of staff, and sometimes [ship repair] companies like to cling as long as possible to a given order,” he said.

Bild am Sonntag reported that one of the three largest ships in the German navy, the combat support vessel “EGV Berlin,” along with the supply ship “EGV Bonn,” was expected to be out of action for much longer than initially anticipated.

According to an internal navy report, the two vessels’ 18-month overhaul at a shipyard in Hamburg, which began last year, is being delayed due to a lack of spare parts.

Bartels said the “retirement” of old German navy frigates was going according to plan but was being hampered by delays in rolling out their replacements.

“Six out of 15 old frigates have been retired from service, but none of the new F125 frigates has been released to the navy,” he said.

According to DW, the German navy has been patrolling the Mediterranean crossing from northern Africa into Europe since May 2015 as part of an EU operation dubbed “Sophia”. The mission is due to run until the end of 2018.

Vessels have also been deployed for similar responsibilities with Nato’s Standing Maritime Group 2 in the Aegean Sea.

With a fleet of nearly 100 vessels, the German navy plays a key role in supporting Nato and UN missions around the world, reported DW.

Explore more