you have become the Symbol of the controversial arms exports to Saudi Arabia: the patrol boats, which are built on the Wolgast shipyard of Bremer company Lürssen. Hardly an article on the subject, without the use of a photo of the marine grey painted warships.

35 of the Saudis, according to Figures from the Ministry of economic Affairs of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in Wolgast build. Including 33 units of 40-Meter-long type COD 40, and two Offshore patrol vessels of 60 metres in length. Fifteen ships of the COD 40 are already in Saudi Arabia, are in the ports or cruising in the Red sea and the Persian Gulf. Of the remaining, a total of 20 ships, some of them are already finished or semi-finished on the Wolgast shipyard in Western Pomerania, including three by the name of “Alriyadh”, “At Tuwal and Sharurah.

COD 40 ungepanzert but properly armed

these 20 boats, the dispute revolves. They were armed with “weak and not armored,” argued about the CDU foreign policy expert, Jürgen Hardt in October. It is a “sledgehammer enough” to beat a hole in your hull, juxte of Wolgast, mayor Stefan Weigler recently. Shipbuilding experts note, however, that ships of war are wearing nowadays, generally speaking, no heavy armor more like up to the Second world war.

The ships of the COD 40 with their 20-person crew are also armed also quite neat. For equipment with a 20-mm-cannon and two heavy machine guns. The Houthi rebels in Yemen are likely to have bares little Comparison. Before the civil war, the Navy of Yemen had – from the Houthis probably some of the ships have taken over in the first place over some of the older patrol boats from the Soviet production. A customer of the Lürssen shipyard for the border protection of the Saudis. The ships were designed for “duties of the coastal protection,” argues the manufacturer. The “prevention of smuggling” and “curb piracy”.

The limits to what the Saudis and their allies Emiratis do off the coast of Yemen, could be therefore, however, is quite fluent. The allies go in there occasionally, apparently, also against fishing boats, transporting suspects, weapons for the Houthi rebels.

critics may also point out that Emirati corvettes of the Baynunah-class were presented a few years ago by the German supplier MTU as a part of the future coast protection of the country. Now, some of them crossing from the coast of Yemen.

the CDU/CSU wants to vessels to deliver

Nevertheless, the CDU and the CSU to make pressure, the Lürssen vessels, but to the Saudis to extradite – even though the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi is unaccounted for until today, and the Saudis continue the war in the Yemen. Before Khashoggi-murder against the export of ships voice actually, the political principles of the Federal government, which permits withdrawal if the recipient countries “are in armed conflicts involved”. Also, according to the latest coalition agreement on arms exports to such countries should remain under that “are directly involved in the Yemen war.” However, it should be given according to the coalition agreement of companies with existing orders of the “trust protection”. The CDU/CSU is calling now. Of course, the coalition agreement for such old cases also requires that the manufacturer “to demonstrate that the previously approved deliveries remain exclusively in the recipient country”.

patrol boats from Wolgast

involved Are supplied from Germany, war ships, indirectly, to the Blockade of the Yemen?

Hans-Martin Tillack

And here there are problems. The star unveiled the, together with the ARD magazine “Report München” in September 2018. Although all of the 15 already on the Saudis delivered ships have almost, at least occasionally, their AIS transponders switched on AIS stands for Automatic Identification System, it is, among other things, for determining the location responsible. Some of them are but months of on-the-go, without that their Position can be tracked on the tracking pages.

“Rafha” last updated in October

it can be seen That is calculated for three vessels near the border to Yemen. At the beginning of March 2018, in the summer of 2017, Lürssen delivered vessels “Farasan” and “Al Aflaj” in the port of Jizan, a city landed just North of the border. Since then, their transponders are switched off; since the 9. March 2018 has about the body, the tracking page Fleetmon in Rostock no data, more about your. A third boat of the same type – in the summer of 2018 in Mukran on the island of Rügen shipped “Rafha” – came, according to their transponder data at the 28. October 2018 also in Jizan. On 29.10.18 she was seen, according to the Fleetmon “the last time”. For nearly five months, her whereabouts, therefore, is Unclear.

satellite images of the port of Jizan, one recognizes – most recently in February 2019 – sometimes two vessels with the characteristics of the type CSB 40, but sometimes only one. Where are the other three? You may tick Yes to patrol the coastal waters of Saudi Arabia. On the other hand, Yemen is located only 60 kilometers. It is a stone’s throw in Wolgast-built ships, would not create much more than an hour. With its two diesel engines according to factory specifications at a speed of 30 knots. This corresponds to about 55 kilometres an hour.

Exclusive

arms deal

to demonstrate Why, in Wolgast still three ships of war for Saudi Arabia

Hans-Martin Tillack

And how Lürssen “can be built” that the ships from Wolgast “remain exclusively in the recipient country”? The for arms exports, the competent Federal Ministry of Economics and the company left the question unanswered, as this document was in the face of repeated off the transponders. The Ministry of economy assured but, one could assume “that the guidelines of the coalition agreement will be respected”.

the organization Lobbycontrol has now boot with the patrol and with the SPD-led Foreign office (AA). The former foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, was involved in the summer of 2016, the first decision on an export permit for one of the Lürssen boats for Saudi Arabia. Shortly before the Foreign office had accepted 50,000 euros from the company Lürssen Logistics GmbH & Co KG, as a Sponsorship for the participation of the Ministry of the so-called Janadijah Festival in the Saudi capital Riyadh in February 2016.

Actually, the relevant provision of the Federal government, says that government ministries only sponsorngelder, may accept, “if an influence of the administration is to be excluded when performing their duties and there is no appearance of such influence”.

foreign office accepted € 50,000

It may so arise is also not a bad idea – and here’s the AA accepted the princely sum of 50,000 Euro, before the Minister, an export decision-making involved, which is obviously not in conformity with the political principles of the German Federal government for arms exports (Saudi Arabia, was already involved in 2016 in “armed clashes” in Yemen – and the principles are not binding, but the CDU/CSU and SPD had been placed in their coalition agreement at the end of 2013, you look at them as “binding”).

Lobbycontrol criticized the Federal Foreign office is therefore due to the sponsorship payment from Lürssen. “The Federal government should pay attention to considerably more distance to the company, the achieve with the highly sensitive Arms sales profits,” said Christina deck Wirth of lobby control the star: “From these corporate sponsors to accept funds, is more than negligence.”

A spokesman from Lürssen denied that there was a connection between the sponsorship and the export of patrol boats. Also in the foreign Ministry, one finds the criticism unjustified, sees no evil seems. From the office it means that you’ve examined this risk “carefully” and could be answered in the negative. The Janadijah Festival was “one of the few existing cultural space for an intensive exchange with the civil society”. Therefore, the participation was important. The Lürssen shipyard have presented at the Festival, no war ships, but “your division presented high-quality yachts”. And you have supported the guest appearance of Germany with a funding amount.

contradictions in the foreign Ministry

And then it is involved in the state Department a little bit in contradictions. At the request of the star, it was initially called (the office does not directly quote) that the interior Ministry had identified in his report the gift of 50,000 euros “erroneously” as a sponsorship.

How was this not a sponsorship? On demand, a number of in the Ministry of foreign Affairs that “the legal assessment as the “‘sponsorship'” but “correctly”. Only one can have “for transparency reasons” in the column “purpose of use” point of reference “foreign trade promotion”.

in Short: You took the 50,000 Euro from Lürssen. But that was from the point of view of the diplomats quite harmless. Lobby control is already the “appearance of influence” in a democracy, it is “dangerous”.

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Teodora Torrendo is an investigative journalist and is a correspondent for European Union. She is based in Zurich in Switzerland and her field of work include covering human rights violations which take place in the various countries in and outside Europe. She also reports about the political situation in European Union. She has worked with some reputed companies in Europe and is currently contributing to USA News as a freelance journalist. As someone who has a Masters’ degree in Human Rights she also delivers lectures on Intercultural Management to students of Human Rights. She is also an authority on the Arab world politics and their diversity.

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