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Deutschland Uber Alles

Germany's Olympic team are having a rough ride after a scandal erupted around the luxury liner the MS Deutschland that was moored in London to provide fans with with a place to live.

The MS Deutschland is also supposed to bring German athletes home again on August 13, once the Games are over.

Owners of the ship want to scrap using the German flag and switch to the Maltese flag to save money on taxes – which will also mean they can pay crew members less.

Staff have threatened mutiny over the plan which has seen the captain sacked when he opposed the move to change the flag.

The MS Deutschland is the largest vessel — at 178 metres — ever to moor at West India Dock, and is the base for Olympic ticket holders and also for athletes to parade tjheir medals.

Docklands has become home territory for supporters of the German team and was supposed to be a home from home where fans will cheer on Germany. The Art Deco-style liner, which charges up to 4,300 GBP for three nights, is used as the setting of German TV soap Das Traumschiff (the Dream Boat) which is based on the American original, the Love Boat.

Captain Andreas Jungblut, 59, had captained the luxury cruise ship for 13 years. But after he wrote a letter to German President Joachim Gauck on behalf of his crew protesting plans by the German Deilmann shipping company to hoist the Maltese flag in place of the German one, he was told to leave.

"Dear Mr President … you can’t change a flag like you would an undershirt," wrote Jungblut, according to the paper. On hearing of the letter, the shipping company asked him to leave the ship and not return, wrote the paper. The shipping company said the captain has been sent on "holiday."

In 2010 Deilmann was taken over by finance investor Aurelius and now wants to sail the ship under a Maltese flag – in order to save money. "We definitely want to change the ship register," a shipping company spokesman told the paper.

Ships that are registered with the German flag have a right to sovereign protection in dangerous waters. They are also subject to German crew requirements and German labour law, all of which can push up running costs, wrote the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper on Friday.

"The crew of the Deutschland believe that our ship could sail very economically under the German flag," wrote the captain in his letter.

Deilmann had wanted to hoist the Maltese flag earlier this month but had to postpone until August 16 due to protests from the crew – they insisted the German flag be flying when the German president stepped aboard for a reception at the weekend.

The mutiny in London has caused outrage and an outpouring of indignant national pride at home in Germany.

"I don’t think it’s right to damage the image of the MS Deutschland in this way now, when the whole world is looking at our dream ship," creator of the Traumschiff soap opera Wolfgang Rademann told the paper.

"I appeal to the shipping company’s patriotism and national pride: the dream ship must remain German!" said conservative CSU politician Stephan Mayer.

German Herald

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shipping  Boat  ship  wrote  Maltese  crew  President  Deilmann  soap  paper  luxury  Germany  captain  flag  Traumschiff  Deutschland  Jungblut  register  mutiny  letter

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