You reap, what you sow
6 May 2011 4 Comments
A new controversy regarding the Hellenic Navies newest submarine S-120 HS Papanikolis is making headlines in Greece.
HS Papanikolis, a German built Type 214 AIP submarine, for many years, has been the focus of political and economic conflict between Greece and Germany. A lot has been written about this decade long conflict which ended in November 2010 with the commissioning of the submarine into Hellenic Navy.
The latest controversy regarding the submarine has started with a article published in Greek weekly Epikaira this week. While I was not able to find the mentioned article online I can assume its content from the public response of the Helleinc Navy.
The article in Epikaira mentions a naval exercise with the participation of HS Papanikolis and S-111 HS Nereus some 4 weeks ago. HS Nereus is a 39 years old, first generation Type 209 class submarine. She has received a mid-life modernisation in 2000, including installation of flank array sonar, new inertial navigation system, GPS and ESM. During this upgrade the submarine was enabled to fire UGM-84 Sub Harpoon anti ship missile.
According to the article the old HS Nereus was able to defeat the brand new and ultra silent HS Papanikolis, and the crew of the older boat was given a two week leave both as a reward and as a gag order. The article also states that
Papanikolis occurred in many areas unprepared by being declared fully operational, while in the log of the submarine recorded more than 40 important or less important problems and shortcomings were recorded, which ranged from the ballast of the vessel and expanded to electronic equipment and high trace recorded at rival radar. The Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Demetrios Elefsiniotis Navy, ordered to communicate directly to the German side to assist in resolving the mentioned problems and shortcomings.
Needless to say that the article made big news and a considerable upheaval.
In a written public statement, Greek Navy spokesperson Commander Adamantios Christodoulou, denied all the allegations of the Epikaira’s article and stated that this publication is full of false, untrue and defamatory information about the well-trained submarine Papanikolis the operational capabilities of most modern submarine, the Navy.
Well this sort of bad public opinion about HS Papanikolis does not surprise me or should surprise anybody. Between 2006 and 2010 when Greek Navy denied to commission HS Papanikolis because of numerous shortcomings and defects, there was a continuous reporting and defamatory information about the submarine and its producer which shaped the public opinion constantly (and permanently I guess).
It would be naive to expect good news that praise the submarine just because Greek Navy had to commission her into service six months ago. Even if the Germans rectified the defects of the submarine the time elapsed is just to short to revers the damage done to the reputation of the submarine.
And believe it or not this is not the end of the problems Papanikolis has created. The bribery case is continuing on a separate but parallel course.
At least 120 million euros was paid in bribes by the German firm that struck a deal with the Greek government for the sale of four navy submarines, according to German court documents seen by Kathimerini
Two former executives of Ferrostaal, the Germany firm that was part of the consortium which won the contract, gave depositions in Munich concerning the kickbacks paid to secure the deal, which was worth just over 1.2 billion euros.
So the Germans admit their guilt and confess that they have paid kickbacks. The ball is not on Greek side. It will be interesting to watch what the prosecution in Greece will reveal.
The Greeks are reaping that they have sown.
For further reading:
Same Submarine Different Headaches
3 Ex-Ministers May Face Charges Over Papanikolis Deal
Submarine News Around The Region
Finally The End Of An Odyssey: Papanikolis Commissioned
Papanikolis To Be Commissioned At Another Day
Papanikolis To Be Commissioned On 15th October 2010
The Submarine Deals That Helped Sink Greece
Thyssenkrupp Is Selling Hellenic Shipyards
The End Of The Odyssey Of Papanikolis
More On Greek Submarine force
Greek Submarine Force